It’s the time of year where school supply lists are being sent to inboxes, mailboxes, and stores, glue sticks, crayons, markers, scissors, and pencils are lining the aisles at every store, just waiting for the mad dash of moms and children to shuffle through them at an alarming rate.
While there is some chaos you can’t avoid during back-to-school season, there are a few things you can do to help ensure that your child starts their school year off on the right foot.
Whether this is your first time sending your little one to (pre)school, or you’ve got some teens in the house, I’m certain these tips will help you out.
Let’s get to it!
Don’t make BIG changes too close to starting at a new school.
Let’s say your little one is able to start preschool, but there are a few stipulations:
- They must be at least 3 years old.
- They must be potty trained.
Potty training is a BIG life event for a little person, and it’s important to make sure your child is fully ready to potty train, both from an emotional perspective and a physical one.
You also want to avoid big changes – like this – too close to another major life event, like starting at a new school.
Ideally, you’d have wanted to potty train your child a few weeks ago to make sure the skill was solidified before sending them to school.
If you have no choice and must potty train ASAP, then make sure you’re ready to hit it hard for a few weeks and pray there’s not a huge regression when they start school. And if that does happen, it’s totally normal! Simply inform the teachers or staff at the school that this is a new skill and you’re continuing to work on it at home. They most likely already know this, because, guess what, there are other kids in the class going through the exact same thing!
There’s never really a great time to do these things, and as parents, you have to do what you have to do. If you need help, I know a girl! 😉
Other BIG life events you’ll want to avoid if possible as your little one is starting at a new school:
- Having a baby
- Sleep training
Make sure sleep is quality.
Your child is about to do a lot of learning. Sleep is one of the most important pillars of their wellbeing that will help them absorb all the new information they’re being presented with at school.
When we sleep, our memories from the day get sorted. Your child’s brain will decide what is important enough to be kept and stored in memory, or to get rid of something – referred to as “pruning”.
If your child is not a good sleeper, there’s a higher chance that they’ll struggle with remembering content from school.
Summer schedules seem to be later. I’d start focusing on that, and bring your child’s schedule a little earlier. Ideally you’ll be wanting them to be getting about 11-12 hours of sleep at night.
Identify what time they’ll need to be awake to get ready for school, and subtract 11-12 hours from that. THAT is now their bedtime.
For example, my boys need to be up around 6:30/7:00 every morning to get ready for school, so their bedtime is 7:30 at night. Every night.
If your bedtime routine is feeling more like a constant battle rather than a calming and peaceful time of evening, check out our sample bedtime routines by age, for free. This is a great starting point.
You could also get sleep under control by working with a sleep consultant. Trust me, I know how to make it as easy as possible, and can guide you through any scenarios you might run into with your child’s sleep.
Be mindful of the transition and expect regressions.
Going back to school can be a shock to the system, especially if your child had a super lax summer. All of the sudden they’re in a totally structured environment where almost every minute of their day is planned.
They may need to go to bed early the first few weeks.
You may also see both potty training or sleep regressions, especially if they’re at a new-to-them school.
Stay consistent with your routines and expectations and they should get back on track after a week or two, but it’s still important to know that this is normal.
If your child has solid sleep and potty training skills BEFORE starting school, chances are they’ll do just fine.
Have a great school year, everyone!