Parents, you all know how it is. The kids enjoy a leisurely summer of sleeping in late and playing all day. Then suddenly the calendar says SCHOOL and the entire family scrambles to get back in the groove of bedtimes, bus routes, homework and hot lunch. How can your sweet tweens adjust better this year? Check out these tips for helping your tween transition back to school—successfully.
1. Start talking about school ahead of time. Discuss what classes she’ll be taking, which teachers she’s looking forward to having, and what clubs she can’t wait to join. Generate a little positive buzz about the upcoming school year, and her heart can begin to adjust before her schedule does.
2. Make school supply shopping a big event. Take your kids on a date to select their chosen notebooks, folders, book covers and pens. Then celebrate a successful shopping trip with a stop for ice cream sundaes or frappes.
3. Plan a couple hang-out dates with school pals if possible, especially if your daughter hasn’t interacted with classmates much over the summer. Friendships and social drama can be tricky at this age, so reinforcing some positive relationships before school begins can give your daughter confidence knowing her true friends have her back.
4. Make sure you’re on top of all the enrollment paperwork such as parent consent forms, school lunch vouchers, sports physicals and so on. The better prepared you are for school, the better prepared your daughter can be. The last thing any tween needs is to be told she can’t participate because her mom forgot to hand in a form!
5. Start easing into the school routine about a week before school begins. Move bedtimes closer to school night hours, adjust to new wake-up times or even make a practice run to school by getting dressed and ready in time to catch the bus. Then grab some friends and meet in the school parking lot for a donut party.
6. Stock the house with healthy lunch and breakfast food, plus on-the-go snacks. Double check your child has the right backpack, locker supplies and classroom electronics required for school this year. And compare her wardrobe to the school dress code. Summer has a way of making kids grow and clothes shrink without us even noticing.
7. Finally, pray! Ask God to watch over your tween this school year and to help her “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Encourage your daughter to pray with you, asking the Lord to bring her success in her schoolwork and to surround her with kind and loving friends and teachers. Mighty things happen when you “devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2).
Whether you start this school year off smoothly or more like a bumpy bus ride, remember this. God has every day of the coming year already covered with His wisdom and grace. So enjoy another milestone, and praise God for your growing tween!