Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fall into School Schedules

by Kelly Miller

Fall is a season of change.  School is starting and parents are signing up their children for activities.  

How can parents help their children deal with the transition into school?

When my oldest children were starting kindergarten, I networked with other parents to arrange playdates for our children before school started.  This was invaluable to my children (after all, who wants to walk into a room full of people you don't know?).  I practiced dropping off my children in the car line at school, and then picking them up.  I wanted them to be as comfortable with these new procedures as possible.  I also take them to the school playground.  Now that two of my children are older, I help them maintain their friendships during the summer with playdates and outings with classmates.

Once school starts, I will regularly eat lunch with my school age children in the cafeteria. I will also stay for recess, as that gives me a chance to meet and talk to their friends.  Since I have to take my preschool age child along, this is helping him to feel comfortable in the school he will attend one day.

It is important to talk with school age children about any upcoming changes the new season will bring.  After school classes and sports are a lot of fun, but it is also important to leave time for play, rest and homework.  I recommend taking the entire families schedule into account, and making sure it flows together.  Some families may prefer all of the children's activities to be held on the same night, to leave other evenings for family time.  Other families may like scheduling no more than one activity per child per evening.  In our family of three, our youngest children each get to pick one activity, and our oldest child gets to pick two. 

It is also important to have a regular before and after school routine for children.  Planning a calm, healthy breakfast is a great start to the day.  After school, establish regular snack, homework, dinner and family times.  Having clear schedules and expectations can all pave the way for a smooth year.

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