Waldorf parents know that summer is a time for cherished freedom, slowing down and lots of unstructured play. Returning to school can be a jolt to everyone’s system. Here are some gentle ways to lessen the stress as your family re-enters the school-time routine.
While the children enjoy their last 2 weeks of summer, you can be gearing up behind the scenes.
- Meals: Consider meal planning for the first week of school. Making a simple menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner can make you less stressed during that hectic first week.
- Events: The school year starts out strong, so be sure and put August and September’s events in your calendar now.
- Clothes: Waldorf schools have lots of clothing requirements, especially for the outdoors. Order, shop or trade now for your rain wear, coats, boots, hats, indoor and gym shoes. Avoid the last minute scramble.
As the first day of school approaches, think back to those days and remember the excitement (and sometimes fear) behind returning to school. Open communication lines now about academics, friends, and other first day or year-long issues.
- Talk Positive: As you discuss the upcoming year and upcoming change, be sure and focus on a child’s strengths and joys to build excitement for what’s to come.
- Schedule a Play date: Back to school time is a great time to reconnect with friends. This gets children excited about returning to school and helps them feel comfortable about the first day when they will see their playmates again.
- Get Involved: Being involved with school right away helps children see that they are not isolated from family during this busy season. Keep schooling a family activity and keep separation anxiety at bay.
Transition to New Routines:
While fanfare is not recommended, a gentle return to school time routines can make the first few weeks of school much easier on the family.
- Rest and Nourishment: Earlier bed and wake times are tough with the summer sun in the sky, but trimming even 20 minutes off a late night can make a big difference. Consider meal times as well and begin feeding kids according to school breakfast, snack and lunch schedules.
- Shifting Priorities: Summers are not always ideal. Media can creep into a schedule, academics can be forgotten, small motor skills play second fiddle to large ones. Oh yeah . . . the fiddle is still in the case. As school approaches, gently reintroduce some old priorities. Returning to outdoor play followed by some focused work, getting the nature table ready for new additions, and reviewing a few academic basics can be very valuable for boosting confidence and building excitement.
- New Beginnings: Remember how each year felt like a fresh start? Well, it is! Don’t forget that new routines and habits can begin now in the family. Talk about goals, create a new homework spot or file system, discuss new school year challenges and rewards.
It’s going to be a great year!