Help kids get ready for back-to-school routines

Try these tips to prepare kids for a new schedule and new activities

As summer starts to wind down, it’s time to prepare your family for the new realities of fall, including school and sports. The Y’s school age care program director for the north district, Tamara Boeck offers these tips:

Communicate new expectations

Whether your child is starting school or a new activity, sit down with them and map out what their days and weeks will look like.

  • Ask teachers ahead of time for how schooldays will generally be structured, and share this with your child
  • Provide clear direction on what will be expected at home and at school during this new routine—for example, let kids know if they are expected to make their bed each morning before school, or if they will need to be at sports practice twice a week in the evening
  • Outline the days and evenings kids will have free time to enjoy 

Start shifting sleep

At least two weeks before school starts, it’s a good idea to get into the new sleep schedule of getting up earlier. Try gradually shifting sleep routines in 15-minute increments.

Practice healthy habits as a family

It can be tough to maintain healthy habits on top of a new schedule—so start planning and integrating these into your schedule before school starts. For example, maybe you plan to take a family walk after dinner three times a week or perhaps you set up a nutritious snack station in your fridge or pantry for kids to choose from healthy snacks to stay energized before sports practice.

Help ease transitions

If your child will have a big change this fall—like starting school for the first time or starting in a new school, consider introducing changes gradually. For example, if your child is starting kindergarten you might let them get used to being in school all day for a week before having them head to before- or after-school care. 

It’s also important to collaborate with teachers and staff to identify any roadblocks your child might have in school or a program. Tamara says that for School Age Care, “It’s great when parents are honest about the challenges their kids might have—when we know this ahead of time, we can help set the child up for success right away.” 

She also says it’s important to mention any new allergies or medications, plus emotional, behavioral and educational needs to those who will be working with your child. As kids grow, things can change over one summer, so be sure to let teachers and staff know about these updates in the fall.

Once fall is in full swing, keep an eye on how your child is doing in the transition to a new environment—check in with your child and connect with the school to understand if there are any areas that need help or adjusting.

Remember the Y

If you need care for your kids before or after school, or on school release days, the Y is a safe place for young people to learn, be active and have fun. You don’t have to be a Y member to sign up, and you can choose from flexible schedule options. Find a convenient location near you.