Is it that time again?
If anyone has been in any drugstore, toy store or clothing store lately, you may have noticed all of the back to school items in stock and on the shelves. I find myself asking no one in particular,” what month is it”? I always knew that stores get ready for back to school early, just as they do for all holidays (i.e. Halloween in August, Valentines Day in January), but as a mom, I notice it in a different way. As a teacher, I loved it; I stocked up on school supplies and got great deals on the items I needed to get ready for September. As a mom of a child too young for school, I was not as excited.
I made a huge mistake and tried getting a pool float for my son at a popular children’s store. I was told in a matter of fact, what is wrong with you kind of way that “summer was over” and they were in the back to school phase. So, I left without a float and my ego deflated. My child cannot have a float to swim in for the pool but he can have all of the folders and notebooks he needs for school … in 4 years when he gets to Kindergarten!
It got me thinking about the idea of the right time to start gearing the kids and ourselves up for school. Many children and parents have anxiety around school and although I am a huge advocate of continuing the learning during the summer, it is approached in a more light-hearted, relaxed manner. Once school is upon us, there is often a sense of nervousness felt by all, especially if your child is going to school for the first time.
I wanted to recommend some easy ways to ease the whole family back into the school mindset, without taking away any of the relaxation that summer provides.
Involve your child in the process: This may take a while so I recommend doing this on a day you have time to spare! If your child is in elementary school, they have learned the basics of money. Look through a CVS circular or something similar and have your child select an item that they will need for school. Then, discuss how much it costs and work with your child to find the correct amount of money using dollars and cents. Take your child to the store and allow them to pick out the item and pay for it. Money is a concept that is much easier to grasp when it is done in a real world setting.You can do this all summer as a continuing lesson; explain how much money the ice cream cone costs and show them what $2.00 looks like in dollars and cents. I will have more to say about using money in real life situations in a later blog!
Read school related books: Begin to incorporate books that are school related into your reading routine. This will simply introduce the idea that school is coming back and it is a fun experience! One of my favorite books is If You Take a Mouse to School. It is a charming book about what happens if a boy takes a mouse to school. From asking for a lunchbox to sharing a backpack, this mouse goes on an adventure that will have your child laughing out loud! The book provides an amazing opportunity to teach and reinforce the concept of sequencing (what happens first, second, etc). It is the type of book that your child will want to read again and again because they will begin to remember the story and be able to repeat the next happening with the mouse. There are other books in the series to enjoy as well such as If You Give a Pig a Pancake and If you Give a Mouse a Cookie. Great finds and lot of laughs!!
Listen to Great Music: I am learning about the overwhelming love of children’s singers/bands such as Laurie Berkner and I have to say that this is the most fantastic way to incorporate learning into children’s lives. Singing with children is a great chance to learn about numbers, colors, feelings, animals and anything else that is included on these songs. Music is a very important part of a child’s education and it is vital to introduce the concepts of rhythm and movement early in their life. It deviates from the traditional types of learning and provides a healthy outlet for children to express themselves and learn something concrete at the same time.
I hope these suggestions help – let me know if you try something!