It is hard to believe that summer is already coming to a close. Those fun, summer days are almost over! Each new school year brings anticipation and hope, but your child may not be showing much enthusiasm about the first day of school. Here are some tips to get your child excited and organized for the big, first day back!

Talk to your child about their thoughts and feelings regarding the new school year. Often times children are anxious and nervous for a new school year. This is especially true if they will have a new teacher, will start switching classes, or are attending a new school. Sometimes talking through what their typical day will be like is enough to calm them. If not, focus on the positives. Talk to them about the highlights of the upcoming year and remind them of what they enjoyed the previous year. Not only will the open communication make them feel better, but it will make your child more comfortable talking with you about school throughout the year.

Visit the school prior to the first day. Kids get nervous about navigating their way around school, especially if it is a new place. Be sure to show your child where their locker or cubby is and practice how to get from one class to another. Pop your head in to introduce your family to any new teachers and staff. It will help your child to recognize smiling faces once school starts. You can even visit some teachers from previous years to make your child feel even more comfortable.

Start the back-to-school routine a couple weeks prior to school starting. This will get everyone, including yourself, in the routine of getting up and being ready for the day a little earlier. Since your child won’t have to go to school yet, find ways to sprinkle in learning opportunities. You can spend time during the morning hours going to the library or a bookstore to read some good books. You can pack a lunch and go to the park or an indoor venue, like a museum, to brush up on history or science in the afternoon. You can spend a little time in the evening playing math fact games to review skills. Make sure to incorporate physical activity into your child’s routine as well. Keeping your child’s days full of activities should ensure they will be ready to move their bedtime up. Getting in the habit of getting a full night’s sleep is crucial for a successful school year. 

Have a back-to-school celebration to emphasis the fun of reuniting with friends and meeting new ones. Large or small, a social gathering with classmates and their families can get everybody in the school spirit. Your child can talk to classmates to see which teacher they have, or to see if they are in the same classes if they are a little older. The kids can also talk about what they are looking forward to and share memories from past years. Your child can reconnect with people and potentially meet new friends.

Make back-to-school shopping a special occasion. Involve your child in the process. Together, make a list of necessary items and search the local ads for sales. Plan a good day to go out together to find everything on the list. You can use the morning for supply shopping and the afternoon for clothes shopping. You can take your child out for a special lunch in between! That evening, encourage your child to go through the new goodies and organize their backpack and pick out an outfit for the first day of school. 

There are many steps you can take to ensure your child is ready for the new school year. Helping your child go into the new year with a positive outlook and confidence can make a big difference.