The back-to-school season is upon us! Whether you are a seasoned pro or a pre-k first timer, the transition from laid back summer mornings to a rushed crisp dawn can be brutal.
It’s tough on parents and it’s tough on kids. SAFE’s Strong Start program works to empower families that are experiencing multiple stressors and may be at an increased risk for abusive behavior.
So as we resettle — or settle for the first time — into the hectic new-school-year routine, what can you do to make this transition as seamless as possible and maybe even find a moment for parent-child bonding?
1. Plan ahead! What can you do the night before to save yourself time in the morning?
- Fill water bottles and freeze ice packs
- Lay out clothes for you and your kids
- Stuff backpacks with folders, library books, or money for upcoming events (i.e. book fair)
- Plan their lunch and plan yours, too! Parents need fuel for the day just like kids do.
2. Consider what your child can do independently
- A visual chart can help a child stay organized
- A routine of five to seven things to do in a row will mean less time for you to verbally remind them and will build skills they will need in the classroom. Evenings are a great time to review charts and practice the steps!
3. Walk your child to their classrooms
- Spend the first month parking and walking your child to their classroom. This will ensure that they feel confident about where to go and will help ease your mind once you’ve transitioned to a quicker car drop off plan. It also gives you an extra moment to comment on art you see inside the school, give your kids a quick squeeze, and mention a hope you have for the day for them. My favorite is a quick reminder to my kids to “Have a great day and be kind to someone today!”
4. Turn off the screens and minimize the noise
- Creating a calm environment is vital to a smooth morning and kids being regulated and ready to learn. Screens will distract kids from moving through the morning independently and can interfere with their readiness for learning when the bell rings at 7:45 a.m!
5. Share what works with other parents and build relationships!
- Parents can be each other’s greatest supporters and they do this by sharing great ideas that worked for them.
- By building community with other parents, you can create a network that becomes your greatest resource. Get to know other parents in your child’s class so you can arrange weekend play dates, communicate when something needs to be discussed, and model friendship for your child.
6. Get to know your child’s teacher, school counselor, principal, and service providers
- You don’t want the first time you contact one of these professionals to be when something doesn’t go well.
SAFE’s Strong Start program is preparing to be in eleven elementary schools this fall and we look forward to meeting and greeting parents and kids as they transition to the school year.
We work with families to strengthen the parent-child relationship and equip parents to handle the challenges of parenting. We know that the parent-child relationship is at the center of how a child feels about their school experience. What you do matters and we thank you for that!
We wish you a happy, healthy school year!