Written by: Alix W.
For most parents, back to school has a bittersweetness to it. The long, lazy days of summer are amazing. Water fights, sunshine, bubbles, watermelon for lunch, there’s a relaxed feeling in the air. Kids read books upside down on the couch, the only gear you need is flip flops and hats, and no one needs a bath, they’re running through the sprinkler every day. There’s no rushing from place to place, the sun boosts everyone’s mood, and you have the chance to create some real memories together as a family. But by the end of August, kids get bored, parents run out of ideas – everyone is ready for new company and the school year to begin.
While the transition back to school is welcome, it can also be challenging for some families – mixed emotions, routine defiance, a decline in connectiveness and more.
For families where both parents work, maybe your routine wasn’t all that disrupted by summer. Your kids might have had a blast at our YMCA Calgary Summer Camps and are used to the morning hustle, bagged lunch and full days. In that case, your family might be ready to tackle the long days of school, after school care and the routine that comes with it. For other families who just went with the summer flow, the transition may not be that easy.
Every family, every kid is different, and there is no fix-all solution to make the transition easier. For my kids, I try to add a little closure to summer, which can allow them to process the idea that we’re moving on to the school year. Create a summer photo album, and print off all your favourite photos from the last few months. Every evening spend a few minutes looking at your summer pictures and talking about what you liked best about summer. It’s an excellent way to relive some memories and then branch into talking about what they are most excited about for the school year. It also is a great routine to keep their mind off heading to bed a little early.
Once you are back in the swing of school, freshen up your regular routine:
- Find new lunch options and switch them up often
- Build a fresh play list to sing along to on the way to school
- Listen to some new podcasts on the way home
Our annual “transition routine” has helped my family keep our fun summer memories alive, easily transition back to the school and continue to develop those important family connections we build over the summer months.
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