It's that time of year: school is back in session! With this comes a range of emotions for everybody. Kids are feeling excited and nervous and parents may be feeling the same way. I can say that I am personally feeling all the feels this year! Our daughter Emma is starting kindergarten and I can hardly believe the little lady she has become. Luckily, Emma is continuing at the same school this year with some friends in her class. This will make the transition back to school a whole lot easier than last year.
The real change that is tugging on my heart strings is that our son Lukas will be going to school for the very first time! He will be in a 3-day program at a pre-school very close to our home. I am so excited to him to grow and meet friends in school; I just know he is going to love it. On the other hand, I think its going to take some time for both of us to adjust as we have practically spent every single day together since he was born!
I am even getting a little emotional writing this, which is so silly. I know this change will be wonderful for everyone. It will give him the independence in a new exciting environment and it will give me some dedicated work time, which I desperately need.
It takes a little time for everyone to adjust from summer and get back into the school routine, but there are a few things that can make the transition a little smoother.
Sleep has got to be the most important component for a happy, healthy, and focused kiddo. Consistent bedtime rituals can greatly help prepare kids for sleep. Predictability equals comfort, and comfort equals a happy, well-rested kid!
Getting enough sleep is important for a young child for many reasons, from restoring energy to building brain connections — not to mention giving Mom and Dad a needed break. But science is showing that sleep also fuels physical growth. The growth hormone needed for tissue and muscle development is released primarily during sleep. Adequate sleep also has a huge impact on health. When kids get the sleep they need, they may have a lower risk of becoming overweight and developing diabetes as well as fewer learning problems and attention issues. A good night's rest can help little bodies fight off germs as well!
The National Sleep Foundation recently published new sleep recommendations. Here are some guidelines to make sure your little ones are catching enough Zzz's every night.
- Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
Another thing that can help transition kids into the school routine is open communication. Talking about their days at school can help them feel more comfortable, less anxious, and open up the connection between home and school. This is especially helpful for younger kiddos because it gives them a sense of predictability. Showing them photos, such as friends in their class or a photo of their teacher while talking about school related things is a great way to encourage positivity and excitement around school.
Last year when Emma started Pre-K, we discovered that packing a lunch everyday was something small we could do that made a big difference. She was starting at a new school and having her own lunch was like bringing a little piece of home with her to school. She loved telling us what lunch items she was craving and it was something she looked forward to everyday. As a bonus, her papa Eric, drew her a picture every single day and tucked it away in her lunch box. I really recommend this! A fun drawing or even a simple note can really make them excited and add a little element of surprise to their day! Check out some of these awesome drawing from last years lunches! :)
One last thing that we find helps our kids with separation anxiety while at school is allowing them to bring something small from home. All schools have different policies of course. The younger kids are usually allowed to bring in a small pillow and blanket for nap/rest time. This is a great opportunity for them to snuggle with their lovey or favorite blanket from home and it makes them feel more comfortable and secure. Luke has his first day of school on Monday and he is bringing our woods toddler pillow and twigs snuggle blanket for nap time. They roll up nice and small to fit into his cubby. He also sleeps with these at home so i think that will really help when its time to rest at school. I hope! ;)
We wish you all a very happy first week back at school!