How to ease your kids from summer into fall

For many kids, there's a sense of sadness as the summer comes to a close. Gone are the easy, sunny days of playing all day long without homework. As fall approaches, here are five ways to help ease the transition from summer vacation to back-to-school.

How to ease your kids from summer into fall

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1. Change their sleep schedule

Chances are you've allowed your child to go to bed and get up later in summer. To avoid the shock and fatigue of suddenly having to get up much earlier, ease your child gradually back to his or her school year bedtime and wake-up time.

  • Consider starting as much as a week before their first day of school by having them go to bed about 10 minutes earlier each day. Continue pushing forward their bedtimes until their schedules align with when they would normally go to sleep during the school year.
  • Similarly, have your children get up about 10 minutes earlier each day until they are back on track with school year times.

2. Provide positive reinforcement

When your children successfully get up earlier, reward them with lots of praise and a good breakfast. Just remember, children are sensitive to such changes and may be somewhat cranky at first.

  • After breakfast, have them do a household task. Once they've completed it, allow them to do something fun such as having time with friends or 30 minutes of video game play.
  • Providing a positive reward helps you to build the association that getting up earlier is a good thing and that they have work – but there are rewards.

With consistent positive reinforcement, your children will be more motivated to get up earlier each day.

3. Take your kids back-to-school shopping

Most kids shy away from shopping at the mall, especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Try to make the experience a fun, exciting event for your kids. How?

  • Allow your children to choose a new item, such as a lunchbox or backpack, that they'll be excited to show their friends.
  • Older kids could be given a back-to-school clothing allowance so that they can select some new outfits they'll be thrilled to show off to friends when the school year starts.

By giving your children choice and some commonsense shopping guidelines to follow, of course, you'll be engaging them in the back-to-school process which gives kids a sense of being in control. Kids like that.

4. Create an easy-to-follow homework plan

To help reduce the shock of having nightly homework again, make an easy-to-follow plan for the school year. To create a plan:

  • Have each child choose a work area in the kitchen, or consider getting a small desk for his or her room.
  • Ask your children what hour of the day they would like to designate as their "homework hour."

Also, ensure that you provide a "reward" as incentive for having done homework at the designated time and without having to be nagged.

  • For example, if your child completed his or her homework for the week without once needing to be reminded, allow them to watch 30 minutes of their favourite television show on the weekend. (You can always record it during the week on your PVR for playback.)

5. Establish firm school year goals

Before anything else, outfit your child's homework area with a lamp and plenty of supplies to help get him or her adjusted to the idea of sitting there daily. Next, as a "first assignment," have each child write out goals for the school year. Tape the goals where he or she will be able to see it while doing homework.

Your child will need your help setting age-appropriate goals. Remember to make the goals:

  • Specific – such as at what time your child will do homework each night
  • Measurable – outline how much time will be spent on homework
  • Actionable – define exactly "what" the child should be doing. For example, writing out all answers in workbooks designated by the teacher for that school subject.

Of course, you'll also need to ensure the goals are achievable for your children and challenge them to improve, but not so difficult that they become discouraged.

  • Speak to your children's school principal or teachers to help you formulate some reasonable goals, if you're having trouble coming up with some that you believe are suitable.

Well before your children return to school, the staff will be there getting ready for the new school year. Give them a call. They'll be happy to help and delighted that you're so involved in your child's educational experience.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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