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by Tan Rutley

Tan Rutley, a teacher/blogger/maker/hugger, is the creator of Squirrelly Minds where she shares DIY creations, recipes, and more to make your life pretty and fun. Her mind never stops thinking, planning, and making (squirrelly mind, get it?) and her projects nearly always leave her covered in glitter or flour. Sometimes both. Tan is an island girl living in Canada's west coast with her husband and overly fluffy kitty Lucy.

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  • The days of long summer nights followed by lazy mornings are coming to an end. Get ready for strict bedtimes, morning struggles, and early evenings spent on math problems. Yes, school is coming, and getting kids back into a routine can be the stuff of nightmares. Sure it would be tough for anyone to go through such a drastic lifestyle change, but it's especially difficult for kids. Why? Children are creatures of habit. As a whole, they crave repetition and thrive on consistency. Read any popular children's book series and you'll notice just how repetitive they are. It's not coincidence—it's science.  

    You can make the transition easier by creating that repetition and consistency gradually, rather than suddenly at full force. A couple weeks before the first day of school, mirror the school day by implementing a homework routine or a strict bedtime. These gradual changes will make it much easier to get your kids out of bed on that first day back to school.

    So here are some tips from a teacher on things you can do to transition from a carefree summer to a happy school day.
  • Start a Sleep Routine


    Trust me I get it—mornings are rough. As a teacher, even I have to train myself to get up earlier a few weeks before school starts. If I need to do this, no doubt your kids will benefit as well.

    Start waking them up a little earlier each day. Get them dressed, have breakfast together, and leave the house the same time you would leave to go to school. Now of course you don't need to go to school, but instead go to the park, the library, for a walk along the beach, or go grocery or school supply shopping. The act of getting up and going out every day will make it that much easier once school comes around.
  • Start a Lunch Routine


    If your child is a picky eater or is anxious about eating around others, get them used to school lunches in a comfortable setting. When getting ready in the morning, take the time to pack a lunch together in their new lunch kit and enjoy it later in the day at the park, beach, or elsewhere that other people are about. This is a great chance to get them accustomed to eating outside the home, and possibly trying new foods. 

  • Start a Reading Routine


    Reading is imperative for a child's education and growth and should be a daily activity, especially as school inches closer. Read to your child and have them read to you for at least 15 minutes a day. One teacher trick to ensure a book is at your child's level is the five finger rule. If your child makes more than five errors on a page, the book is too difficult. Less than five you're good to go.

    Note: If there are no errors at all that means the book is too easy. This doesn't mean don't allow your child to read them. It's important to let children read books that are easy to build their confidence. It's also important to let children read one book several times so they get comfortable with it, but make sure to also includes books that challenge their abilities.
  • Start a Homework Routine


    There are several educational resources out there for parents, and some resources teachers use that are perfectly suitable for the home too. Practice those basic math and printing/writing skills nightly, and mix it in with fun educational games and activities. These books and games (right) are a great way to get your child back into the habit of doing schoolwork. Additionally, there are several websites that offer free or subscription based educational printables and online games.

    ABCYa – Games for children in grades K-5
    Cookie – Printable activity sheets, online games, videos and more. This website has all sorts of activities for all ages.
    Sparklebox – Several free printables at all levels and subjects
    Storyline Online – An online library with video of books being read by animated adults
    Super Teacher Worksheets – This is my No. 1 resource for online printables! This site has a huge collection of printable activities in all areas. There's a $20 yearly membership fee and also some free options available.
     
    Find a list of more educational resources for students, parents and teachers (worthwhile for parents too) here.

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