Swapping: It’s the action that inevitably comes to mind when I think of back to school. Swapping a beach bag for a book bag, swapping lazy morning routines for early wake up calls, swapping a refreshing afternoon popsicle for mom’s attempt at a “nutritious” break-time snack (read: carrots).
And while back to school inevitably means swapping a sci-fi thriller for a potentially less entertaining textbook, there are other swaps—good swaps—that parents and students should keep in mind as well. Indeed, back to school doesn’t have to be a struggle. In fact, it can be quite exciting for parents and kids alike. Here are some tips to help ease the transition from campfires and heat waves to carpool and homework.
1) Swapping the old for the new: Back to school also means back-to-school shopping. While that perfectly worn-in pair of flip-flops served your child well during the summer months, a new pair of shoes might be in order. Keep your kids excited about returning to school by reminding them about the fun new school supplies they get to play around with; the thrill of a shiny new binder and a perfectly pink eraser can go a long way.
2) Swapping loose schedules for structured routines: That’s right, this actually can be a positive thing. You see, children thrive when they have structure; it provides them with a sense of security when they know what to expect and can anticipate what’s to come. Establishing a normal routine again can make life easier and more predictable for them and for you.
3) Swapping siblings for friends: While every child no doubt enjoys getting some QT with his or her siblings when school is out, the promise of new friends and the allure of reconnecting with old ones is quite compelling. Focus your child on the fact that back to school also means back to friends.
Back to school carries with it promise and hope and memories to be made. Here’s to the start of an incredible year ahead!
Jenn Curtis, MSW is the owner and co-founder of FutureWise Consulting, a college counseling, test prep, and academic tutoring business in Orange County, California. As an educational consultant, she works alongside high school students and their families to prepare them for the college admissions process. Jenn also developed and teaches a college and career readiness program for first generation students. She is the editorial assistant for an academic journal, has edited several books, and works with graduate and doctoral students in developing effective writing skills. With a background in mental health, Jenn’s passion lies in empowering students to become self-advocates, to uncover their strengths, and to find the motivation to reach their potential.