Kids and parents alike look forward to summer vacation with a passion. The sunny weather, relaxed pace and lack of school obligations make it the favorite season for many. So, when fall rolls around and the school schedule resumes, the changing routine can have an impact on the whole family. Though some kids look forward to it, others view it with dread. By anticipating the impending event, parents can avoid the back to school slump and inspire kids to embrace the coming season. By addressing a few key elements, parents can prevent or at least counteract the slump that can occur when motivation is low. Managing the back to school slump is a proactive way to maintain momentum once the summer sun has set and fall is on the horizon. Anticipating the change and inspiring kids to embrace the seasonal shift adds a positive spin that makes this transition significantly less turbulent.
Anticipating Seasonal Changes
There is a certain amount of anticipation and excitement that carries kids into a new school year. They look forward to reunions with friends, new outfits and school supplies, and even meeting a new teacher. But once the dust settles and reality sets in, motivation may dissipate quickly. In anticipation of this possibility, here are a few things to consider:
- Minimize stress by organizing for ease and comfort — The changing season requires some changes at home. By working with kids to get the house ready for the school year, parents can proactively organize to meet changing demands. Help kids set up a comfortable homework zone that will support them as they ease back into that routine. Some kids prefer a quiet corner without distractions while others work better with some background noise. Considerations when helping them find their optimal homework environment could include location, lighting, temperature and noise level.
- Plan meal preps to lighten the load — The back to school routine may place new demands on the entire family. Plan ahead to ensure that healthy and enjoyable family meals allow you to maintain positive communication and camaraderie. Involve the kids in prepping the coming week’s meals on the weekend, and it can become a project you enjoy together. Letting them help you shop and prepare lunches will ensure they are packing foods they will look forward to when the lunch bell rings.
- Help kids adjust to the new schedule — After a summer of relative freedom, the school schedule imposes some limitations. Empower kids by offering some choice with homework, lunches, afterschool snacks and extracurricular activities. Some kids prefer to tackle homework right away, while others would rather snack and relax for a while. Come up with a schedule that works for both of you, and readjust when necessary.
- Schedule time for family and friends — One of the best features of summer is all the time we spend together. To ensure that you preserve the fun and closeness, make time for some fall family fun. This time of year is great for outdoor outings, including bike rides, fall color tours and star gazing. Canoeing and kayaking are also great fall activities. Getting kids involved with planning weekend adventures will help to maintain the best of summer even as everyone adjusts to new routines and added demands.
Planning for Next Year
Another good way to manage the back to school slump is to start looking forward to next summer. It isn’t too early to start planning a family vacation or start researching summer camps. Allow kids to propose a vacation destination, then give them some responsibility in researching options for transportation, lodging and sites to visit. If summer camp is in their future, let them gather information on camps that support their interests or those that would offer something new. Discussing and planning for next summer now allows you to budget and save for special activities,and offers a teachable moment for involving kids in important life skills.
The end of summer need not mean the end of family fun, adventure or shared activities. A proactive approach to the back to school season will ease kids in and ensure that they move from favorite season to another. Acknowledging the changing routine and working through the changes together can make the back to school slump a thing of the past.
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