By Danielle Keech
Does anyone else feel like the kiddos just got out of school? I can’t believe it’s that time again, but our littles are starting yet another year of school. And I’m just sitting here wondering where the summer went!
But this might not be the beginning of just any other school year. If you PCS’d this year like we did, then you’re not only sending your children off for their next level of education, but you’re sending them off to a new school, with new friends, and new teachers all while you’re trying to get settled into your new home. And when you think about it like that, it all seems a little too crazy to manage!
But there’s no need to worry. I’m sharing a few tips to help you push the reset button and get you and your family ready for yet another fun-filled school year.
1) Re-establish old routines.
One of the best ways to help your child transition after a PCS move is to get them involved in the same activities they were in before.
For example, if they participated on a swim team or played soccer, baseball, or basketball, try to find the same or similar activities and sign them up right away. Don’t wait for them to make new friends to see who’s doing what. Let your children find comfort in their familiar activity and make friends through it.
2) Establish a bedtime.
We all know that proper sleep promotes better health, fights germs, and boosts learning.
Even though it can be hard to reinstate a bedtime after a fun-filled summer, and even harder when you haven’t had time to establish a normal routine, it’s a good idea for young children to have a regular bedtime.
3) Set up a homework station.
You may not have the house fully unpacked, and that’s OK! But one thing you can do to help set up your kids for success is to create a homework station. Whether it’s a desk in their room or the table near the kitchen where you can help them while you cook, giving them a space free of boxes can help them focus on their school work.
4) Connect with the new teacher.
Connecting with your child’s teacher helps provide a peace of mind that they’re in the right hands. In our Back-to-School Guide for Military Families, Meg Flanagan, M. Ed says, “Chatting in person or through email can be a tricky situation because as the parent, your first priority is your child’s well-being, but as a classroom parent, you understand that supporting the teacher is one of the best ways to make the year successful.”
To help create a strong line of communication, Flanagan explains that it’s best to start by saying something positive. Complimenting the classroom or sharing something in particular that your child enjoys doing can go a long way to ensuring that you and the teacher are on the same page and that you intend to do your part.
5) Review the school’s PTA or PTO pages.
PTA and PTO groups often host a meet-and-greet, which can be a great opportunity for you to get connected with other parents. If it’s a military dense area, you may find military parent groups or committees that can provide resources to help your transition.
6) Schedule your children’s yearly physical.
School and sickness go hand-in-hand, so it’s best to get your kids into the doctor for a check-up before school starts, if you can. This is also a good time to make sure they are up-to-date on any needed immunizations.
7) Prepare for sick days.
Kids are susceptible to sickness, and when you put them all in a room together breathing the same air, they’re likely to bring that illness home. One thing you can do to prepare, especially if you’re both working parents, is to have a babysitter on call who can help you out if you can’t leave work.
And, it’s always a good idea to clean frequently used surfaces like faucets, handles, and doorknobs, and ask your children to wash their hands and not share drinks.
You’re not alone if you’re sad to see the summer go. Between your PCS move, exploring the area, and settling into your new home, it’s no wonder you may be feeling overwhelmed at the start of a new school year.
But the great news is, not only will the regular routine help your kids acclimate to their new environment, but it will also give you more free time to get those last boxes unpacked!