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The new school year is quickly approaching, if it hasn’t started already in your state.

With a new school year comes a time of adjustment, even for home schoolers like us. Adjusting to a new schedule, a new level of work, a new teacher, etc., can be difficult for both kids and parents.

Here are three of my most tried and true tips for preparing your children (and yourself) for a smooth back to school transition:

1. Schedule: Our biggest adjustment every year has to do with our schedule. The lazy days of summer suddenly disappear and it feels like we’re instantly running at full throttle! One way to prepare for the big upheaval is to create a family schedule before the first day of school. Children function better when they are prepared and know what to expect. Sit down and go over your daily schedule with them. Talk about what time they will be expected to get up every morning, what time the bus will be arriving, or when you will need to leave for your carpool, and what tasks need to be completed before they leave for school (such as eating breakfast, making their bed, etc.). If you have access to their class schedule for the day, be sure to go over that as well. Continue on until you’ve covered the entire day. Give them the opportunity to ask any questions, or comment.

back to school, parenting tips, pretend play,

2. Pretend: If you have a younger child, it may be beneficial to you to take some time before school starts to pretend play school. This has worked well for my younger ones, and helps them get an idea of what types of activities they will be doing during their school day, as well as what will be expected of them. After days on end spent running and playing, they often need to be reminded of the importance of using their inside voice, or quietly paying attention when the teacher is speaking.

You can go over class rules, and role play different portions of the day. As we prepare my youngest for Kindergarten this year, my big kids have been taking turns playing the role of the teacher, as my preschooler gets used to sitting still for his “lessons.” This sort of pretend school play can seem silly, but it is extremely helpful in preparing their minds and hearts for the school year after less rigid summer days.

3. Chat: This is probably the most important tip I can give you. Talk to your kids. Ask them what they are excited to do during the new school year. Give them the opportunity to verbalize and process their emotions, worries, concerns, or questions they may have about the upcoming school year. It may be as simple as their struggle with deciding what to wear on the first day. But it also could be a more serious anxiety of meeting new classmates, or fears of being bullied.

Letting them talk through these emotions at home with you, will allow them to feel more prepared. They can enter their school on the first day a secure and confident child. Plus, when your child is able to prepare themselves both physically and mentally for the start of a new school year, they can approach it with an attitude of excitement, ready for a new year of learning!

What tips can you share that have been successful in transitioning your family back to school from summer fun?