It’s almost that time of year again — the back to school season. Children dread it as the summer months start to dwindle and the countdown to the first day of school begins. Parents scramble to buy school supplies, new clothes, and uniforms. It’s a very busy time in many households. Transitioning from summer vacation freedom to the school year schedule is a challenge that many families struggle to cope with.
“Being a principal at a small Christian school, I relish the idea of my students and teachers leaping off into summer happiness,” said Laurie Cantu, principal of St. Matthews Episcopal School in Edinburg. “Finding summer balance is key to rejuvenating mind, body, and spirit.”
During the school year, most families are great about maintaining a schedule of how the days and weeks are going to go. When the final bell rings on the last day of school, though, all sense of structure seems to fly out the window. The summer becomes a free for all, making the transition back to school all the more difficult.
“As an educator, I am keenly aware that students can have learning lapses over summer months,” Cantu said. She favors embedding learning opportunities into the summer days, along with keeping as much routine as you can in students’ time away to make the return to school much easier.
“The summer is our opportunity to try out new activities, frequent the libraries, and other great local events and locales, so our days may not be as structured,” said Anastasia Perez of RGV Moms Blog, a mother of three. “The biggest routine we keep a hold of all year long, even in the summer, is a family dinner, bath, and bedtime routine that always includes lots of stories. I think this contributes to easing back into the school year.”
Robin Wilson-Clipson, principal of Pace Academy, a Waldorf school in Harlingen, says she believes that children’s reliance on electronic devices — including phones, computers, TV, and others — as a source of entertainment has a large impact on their transition back into school. She believes the key to transitioning kids back to the school year schedule is a combination of proper sleep, nutrition, and physical activity — things that are often interrupted by the constant use of technology. She recommends that parents begin the back-to-school transition sooner rather than later.
“It’s hard to be productive when you’re fidgety, hungry, and sleepy,” Wilson-Clipson said.
So as the end of the summer creeps up on us and the new school year approaches, begin to find some structure in the chaos.
“Preparing for the return back to school can seem daunting, and the kiddos might offer ample resistance,” Cantu said. “Stay positive and strong; remember, resistance is futile.”