It’s not a particularly well-kept secret that most parents rejoice when school begins again. Kids tend to be more divided on the issue. Boredom has set in for some of them, and they welcome the return to classes; others would just as soon that summer vacation lasted a few months longer. But it’s inevitable, and there are ways to help kids (and their folks!) transition smoothly back into a more structured routine.
The start of school can be embraced as the beginning of a new adventure, rather than something that signals earlier bedtimes, homework assignments and the need to be up and rushing out the door every morning. With a little planning and creativity, you can ease your family (and your kids’ friends) painlessly back into the classroom schedule.
A POT LUCK SCHOOL LUNCH PARTY
Host a small get-together for just your own family, or include a few neighborhood kids or other school-age friends the weekend before classes take up for the autumn session. Each invitee brings a favorite item they enjoy as a snack or as part of their brown bag lunch.
This is an opportunity to create five days’ worth of lunches or snacks for each child to take the first week of school. Maybe create a peanut butter sandwich assembly line with everyone contributing the things they like best on their sandwich. As you work, ask each kid what she or he is most looking forward to this coming school year. And if you are bold enough, ask each what they are most worried about. It’s a terrific opportunity for everyone to share their thoughts and to help one another work through their concerns. At the end of the party, send each guest home with 3 to 5 lunches they can refrigerate to get them started on their first week back in class.
A BACK YARD CAMP OUT
All too soon, the days will be shorter and the weather will turn colder. Why not establish a tradition of bidding “farewell to summer” with an evening under the stars? Prepare a treasure map that leads the participants to various school supplies hidden around the yard — crayons, erasers, glitter pens, stickers, etc. Spend a few minutes studying the constellations overhead, or discussing the type of wildlife campers might typically encounter.
A PARTY TO BENEFIT OTHER KIDS
Hosting a party like this can be an opportunity to remind your children and their friends that even the simplest school needs are sometimes beyond the reach of many families.
Ask every guest to bring a few items to the party:
- Some paper
- Glue sticks
Set up an assembly line to fill paper bags with one or two of each of these things. The kids can then decorate each bag with glitter, stickers or drawings. Check with local agencies in your area who can direct you to deliver these items where they can be distributed to children who can put them to good use in their studies.
When the bags have been decorated, it’s time to break out the refreshments, games and other activities.
These are just a few suggestions that might make the transition from lazy summer days to the more structured ones of autumn a little smoother. And, of course, who doesn’t love a good party, no matter what the occasion?
Remember, if you need help getting your house or yard ready for entertaining, your local Handyman Matters office is always glad to help.