By: Robert Austin, MSW,LCSW Ocean Academy School Social Worker
It’s hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. As we prepare for another school year I would like to provide some helpful tips.
First it is important to restart your routines, adults as well as children need to readjust and to process the end of summer, so begin to set an appropriate bedtime and try to serve meals at the same time each evening and engage in family conversation around the dinner table sharing happy summertime memories while looking forward to the upcoming school year.
Next review school year routines and expectations such as when will homework be done. Some families like to have it completed directly after school while others like to complete it after dinner, there is no right or wrong, it is whatever works for your family, the important thing is that the rules are established beforehand and reinforced. Pick out a homework area and allow your child to have a say in where they will complete their homework, also bring out the backpack, pencils and other supplies that will be needed once school begins.
Make picking out clothes fun, let your child pick what that would like to wear the first day of school such as a fun souvenir shirt that they picked up over the summer, or a nice new school outfit and begin phasing out the summer wardrobe and putting the fall/school wardrobe front and center in the closet.
Take a strength based approach and review last year’s successes and triumphs and then build off them, this would be a great time to establish new goals for this school year and to identify any challenges.
Take one last family trip to cap off the months of fun that was had throughout the summer – you don’t need to go far – we have very nice parks in the Ocean County area, such as Jakes Branch and Wells Mills – check them out at http://www.oceancountyparks.org/ to find more suggestions.
If your child is beginning a new school see if you can take a test run to check out where things like the cafeteria and bathrooms are, see if the new school offers a buddy program where they pair up your child with another student who is familiar with the school.
Most of all have an open dialog with your child and reassure them that you will assist them in readjusting to the new school year.