Back to School is always a time of excitement, upheaval and trepidation and going back to school can be hard on the kids too! Is your child heading into first grade this year? There are some things you can do to make life a little easier on your first grader when they go back to school.
#1 Help with Homework
First grade is probably the first year your child will actually have “real” homework. You can make back to school easier on your first grader by talking to them about homework. Many teachers don’t give homework to be difficult, but to give the child extra practice outside of school. Create a space at home for homework. This can be a spot in the home in which no one else uses. Try and encourage your first grader to be positive about their homework situation. We always give the kids half an hour to ‘decompress’ after school & have a snack – then work on homework together. Having that rest and refuel makes all of the difference! You can begin this routine before you go back to school.
#2 Great Night’s Sleep
Making sure your first grader gets a goodnight’s sleep isn’t rocket science for most parents. It can be difficult to enforce this rule every night, especially after going back to school from summer break. It’s wise to start the bedtime routine a few weeks early, so there are no surprises when school rolls around in the fall. This also means that you don’t have all of the bed time changes happening at the same time as the new back to school routine. We have always found one big change is enough if you can manage it!
#3 Make them Independent
Help make your child a little more independent this year. A major tip that you don’t want to forget is to dress your child, so they can be independent. If they can’t tie their shoes yet, send them in Velcro shoes. If they can’t button their own pants yet, make sure you send them in elastic shorts. Just thinking ahead can help make life a little easier for your child. We also start to expect the little ones to take some responsibility at this stage. This doesn’t have to be anything drastic but can be as simple as checking they have everything they need in their bag each day. I always check as well, when they are not looking!
#4 Pick Your Battles
Some mornings you’re going to wish you didn’t have to take your child to school quite so early in the morning. One piece of advice to make life easier on the whole family is to pick your battles. Some things are just not worth getting upset over. Try to plan the night before to make the morning go a lot smoother. Make a menu to make sure breakfast is covered. Have your first grader pick out their clothes, line up their shoes, and organize their backpacks the night before. I make lunches the night before, so I can take into account any special requests. I am not a morning person so I get up half an hour before I have to, just so I can sit by myself and drink a cup of tea – it eases me into the morning and makes it easier to manage.
#5 Help them Know Information
Since your child is now old enough, you should be introducing certain important information to them like their full name, birth date, and address. Work with your first grader until they feel comfortable with this information. We made it into a game and every evening at bath time we would practice – it is far more fun when it’s a playful part of something else.
Talk About Their Day
As much as your first grader wants to run and play, it’s important to talk about the day as it happened. Ask your child about lunch, their friends, and what they learned. While your child might not like this process now, they’ll be thankful later in life that someone took the time to ask them important questions about their day. You can make back to school easier on your first grader by being an involved parent. We always spend the walk home chatting about what happened during the day and last thing at night we ask what “What was the best thing that happened today?” Sending your child into first grade might feel like a whirlwind the first couple of weeks, but soon everyone will be in a routine. Do you have any tips to add to this list for a first grader?