9 Ways to Transition Your Kids From Summer Back to School

By KyAnn Lewis, GalTime.com

As summer vacation wraps up, it's time to get back into a schedule and routine. After several weeks of sleeping in and staying up late, you need to get your kids back on track. Otherwise you're going to be dealing with tired, grouchy kids in the morning.

What's the best way to get back into school mode? I solicited advice from a childcare expert, Candi Wingate, President of Nannies4Hire. She has ideas to help parents make the transition easier. Candi advises that you:

1. Gradually transition your kids back into their school-year wake and sleep cycles. A few weeks before school starts, set your kids' bedtime at an hour that is earlier than they go to bed during the summer but later than they go to bed during the school year. In subsequent weeks, shift their bedtime earlier and earlier until you've reached their traditional school-year bedtime.

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2. Limit access to refined sugar and processed foods before bedtime. Instead, have lots of fresh fruits and veggies in your home as strawberries, watermelon, baby carrots, etc. are excellent substitutes for candy.

3. If you increased your kids' household responsibilities when school was not in session, then reduce their chore load when they return to school. If you increased their weekly allowance for their increased summertime household responsibility, then their allowance will need to be proportionately reduced when they no longer carry those responsibilities. Your kids should have chores year-round, but the amount of time that they can dedicate to chores should be restricted during the school year as your kids already have a full-time job during the school year: they are full-time learners.

4. Don't go cold-turkey on all the fun, active, creative, or educational activities that you planned for your kids during the summer. The frequency of these activities can change due to your kids having less free time, but there should still be periodic trips to your local art museum, days painting pottery at a greenware pottery retailer, hiking a nearby nature trail, learning about local vegetation and wildlife, or attending events at your local public library.

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5. Host a back-to-school party to reacquaint your kids with the classmates that they may not have seen since the spring semester ended.

6. Dedicate a day to fun back-to-school shopping for your kids. New clothes, pencils, notebooks, and other school necessities can be fun to shop for: include your kids and make a fun day of it.

7. If your kids are transitioning to a new school building, visit the school building with your kids. Take a tour of the building. Introduce your kids to the administration, teachers, and staff.

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8. Address any emotions your kids may be having about returning to school. For example, if you spend a little time tucking the kids into bed each night, visiting and bonding at that time, then, in those moments, ask your kids how they're feeling about returning to school. If they are excited, tell them that you are excited too, and then ask them what specifically excites them about returning to school. If they are nervous, ask them what specifically makes them nervous about returning to school and then discuss their concerns and try to help them see that their anxiety is normal but likely constitutes worry over something that won't happen.

9. If your schedule permits, volunteer to help out in your kids' classrooms. (Before you volunteer, ask your kids how they'd feel if you did this. Many kids find this to be reassuring, but some find it embarrassing or space-invading.)

What success stories do you have for getting kids back into a school schedule? Share them here so other moms can benefit!

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