One word effectively summarizes the excitement surrounding the first week of school: New. For some students, it might occur the first time they step foot in a classroom, or walking with their classmates to the cafeteria. This newness keeps the kids engaged.
And then week two rolls around. Suddenly that excited kid dreads school. They might have tears or angry outbursts each school night and morning. This child, who couldn’t wait to use their new backpack and lunch box doesn’t want to leave the house. Here's how to get them through the back-to-school letdown.
1. Don’t Panic
This letdown is completely normal because the newness is wearing off. Your child is realizing that waking up early, sitting for long periods of time, and learning tricky concepts like reading, writing, and math is a routine that’s going to last for a while.
2. Make Sure They're Getting Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep is a big contributing factor to kids acting out. According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids ages 6-13 need 9-11 hours of sleep each night. Younger children (3-5 years old) need 11-13 hours of sleep.
3. Pack Healthy Snacks and Lunch
Avoid sugary snacks that leave your child feeling tired and hungry soon after they’ve eaten. Healthy foods fill their bellies and give them energy to last the day.
4. Find Some Downtime After School
Younger students like kindergartners may have homework — from practicing site words to reading. Additionally, many kids have after school activities that keep them on the go. Allow time for your child to relax and unwind after school before heading out to practice or practicing their ABCs. Their brains and bodies need a break.
5. Ask Open-Ended Questions About Their Day
Do some investigating to learn if there is something happening at school that’s contributing to their unhappiness. Ask specifics about math, recess, lunch, and classmates to find out details about their day.
6. Speak to the Teacher
Your child’s teacher may very well assure you they are having a great time in the classroom, or may agree that your child seems unhappy. Either way, both of you can coordinate a plan to get your little one engaged in school.
7. Volunteer in the Classroom
There isn’t a kindergarten classroom around that doesn’t need parent volunteers. Volunteering lets you see your child’s classroom experience first-hand and assures them that you are a part of their school experience.
8. Establish a Routine
Just because your little one is now in school doesn’t mean that the need for a routine disappears. Kids thrive best when they know what to expect.