Dr. Bryan Burke has advice on how to make sure kids of all ages are ready for the first day of school

    6:34 PM, Aug 15, 2011   |    comments
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    UNDATED (KTHV) -- Reading, writing and arithmetic -- it's once again time for school days. But getting your kids out of the summertime laze won't happen overnight.

    Pediatric Psychologist Dr. Larry Evans says you need to start the mental and physical adjustment at least a couple weeks out. "It's really important to start getting their activities more in line with what they're gonna be doing during the school year in terms of their eating times, their sleeping times," he explains.

    To ease the transition, start moving bedtime up 10 or 15 minutes every day or two. Wake kids up a little earlier each day if they like to sleep in and start having breakfast NOW at the same time they will when school starts.

    Or just try a few practice runs, kids always feel better when they know what to expect. Dr. Evans explains how a preview day might go. "They'll go and they'll find the location where the bus is gonna pick them up or where the carpool is gonna pick them up. Take 'em to the school, show 'em where they're gonna be dropped off, the door that they go into at the school. Maybe go in where their classroom is gonna be and locate that, maybe even meet the teacher."

    A trip to their playground couldn't hurt since that's a fun part of school. And if your child walks to school, take the best route with them a few times.

    Those are some practical ways to get ready, but Dr. Evans says the best thing you parents can do is get excited about back-to-school. "Involve them in activities like shopping for new clothes, getting the supplies that they want and allowing them to pick out the exact things that they want. Just getting them involved and showing some enthusiasm for going back to school."

    Kids take their cues from mom and dad, so if you're excited, the kids will be, too.

    The following tips for parents are courtesy of National Association for the Education of Young Children:

    1. Be enthusiastic about the upcoming change. If you are excited and confident, your child will be, too.
    2. Prepare yourself. Take note of how your child reacts to separation. If possible, visit the new setting with your child. Introduce your child to the new teacher or early childhood professional in advance.
    3. Arrange a playdate with another child from the program, preferably one-on-one, so that your child will see a familiar face when she walks in.
    4. Start daily routines that will add to continuity. Let your child become involved with packing lunch or laying out clothes. Also, begin an earlier bedtime several weeks before.
    5. Put aside extra time, particularly on the first day, for chatting and commuting together. But remember not to prolong the good-bye. If the child whines or clings, staying will only make it harder.
    6. Always say good-bye to your child. Be firm, but friendly about separating. Never ridicule a child for crying. Instead, make supportive statements like, "it's hard to say good-bye."
    7. At the end of the work day, put aside your concerns and focus on being a parent.

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