07 Jan Helping your Kids Transition back to School after the Holidays
After a holiday vacation, it can be hard for children, and parents, to get back in the swing of school, both the daily preparations to get to school on time and being prepared once there.
A Smoother Transition back to School takes Reestablishing Routines
Routines are one way to make the transition back to school easier. Getting back to, or establishing, both a morning routine and an after-school routine does wonders. Sometimes during holidays, bedtimes may have gotten later…you know, trying to stay up to wait for Santa, or watching the ball drop or fireworks on new year’s eve. This can make getting back to a normal bedtime routine also important. There have been many studies about how a lack of quality sleep can have a negative effect on daytime performance.
New Bedtime Routine: Stop the use of Computers, eReaders, Tablets and Smart Phones two Hours before Bed for Better Sleep
If your child received an eReader, tablet, computer or smartphone as a gift, you might need to set some surprising boundaries at bedtime. There have also been several recent studies about the detrimental effects of anyone, adult or child, using a screen (such as a computer, tablet, eReader or smartphone) right before bedtime. Studies indicate that the quality and color of the light from those screens (bluer than normal household lights or daylight) can interrupt our body’s natural nighttime, pre-sleep routines and lead to poor-quality sleep. One effect that the light from these screens has is to suppress melatonin levels, which can lead to poor-quality sleep and lack of functioning well the next day (sleep deficiency, over time, can also lead to more serious issues like diabetes and obesity). So if your child received one of the listed electronic device for Christmas or Hanukah, back-to-school is the time to start teaching kids good sleep-hygiene habits. These include winding down for bed by stopping use of electronic devices about two hours before sleep.
It also Takes Adaptability to Get Back in the Swing of things
Make sure to remind your children to bring home any paperwork from school and from extracurricular activities. Allow time to go through the paperwork. Hopefully changes in schedule will be detailed there clearly so you can incorporate changes or upcoming events in the schedule. See our post with tips on time management for families for other ways to keep up with a busy child’s schedule.
One other Tip will have to wait until the Next Holiday to Implement
One way to smooth post-holiday routines, is to keep some of them going during the holiday. Okay, we’re not going to get our kids up early every morning as if they had to catch the bus, but parents can plan after-school or evening “Explore-Time.” During the time a child would normally do homework, parents can let a child pick a topic they want to learn about. Kids can take books out of the library, or go online and you can help them research penguins, or snow leopards, or a famous mathematician or scientist, or the Amazon jungle…whatever topic that intrigues them. If the child gets into it, they can even write a paper and read it to parents and siblings the night before school starts. There are many fun learning activities online at sites like The Kids Activities Blog; you can substitute any one of them for the above idea. With Martin Luther King Jr long weekend around the corner in January, you can give these techniques a try. Do you have any tips to share for easing back in to the school routines?