Transitioning from the summer back to school
Summer is so much fun for children, with more family time, vacation, summer camps, fun outdoor activities, water fun and just pure bliss. Summer time represents a break from the old routine and a chance to just “be kids”. Summer also means having the children at home full time and the au pair’s role is crucial
in coordinating all the activities, providing transportation and filling the gaps between summer camps, swim team and scheduled times with the grandparents.
School summer assignmentsAlthough most summer activities are dedicated to providing a fun break from the school routine, parents and their childcare provider can make a plan to balance these activities with the required reading and homework assignments provided by the school. These assignments can be spread out throughout the summer, or scheduled during times at home between trips and camp, and more heavily concentrated closer to the return to school. The au pair’s help is crucial to help parents implement that plan and follow through with the kids, who will be better prepared to return when their skills are still up-to-date and have not been forgotten over the summer months.
Although it is important to take a break from strict schedules during the summer, the au pair can help parents slowly transition the children back into scheduled mealtime and healthier eating habits (less ice-cream, more protein!). A time after lunch, before outdoor activities and when it is hottest outside, can be focused on “homework”. The bedtime routine and schedule should be slowly transitioned back to what it is during the school-year (earlier dinner time, no caffeine 6 hours before bed, a calming bedtime routing, etc.).
School-year routine may also include less TV time and games, but more structured extra-curricular activities such as sports or music lessons. It is important for both the parents and the au pair to speak positively about back-to-school and what changes will occur for the whole family. The more prepared with positive expectations, the smoother the transition.
There are several ways the au pair can help the children getting ready for back-to-school: 1) Speaking positively about the timeframe to return to school, 2) Discussing individual goals and issues with each child regarding grades, sports, friends and discipline. 3) Talking about things learned in summer assignments and last year, in math, biology, reading, history, etc. so the kids are re-familiarized with those topics. 4) Getting the kids excited about picking their school supplies with their parents and getting organized. It is important for the parents to discuss those plans with their au pair openly, so s/he can reinforce their efforts with the children when they are in charge.