Back to School Readiness
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I used to rejoice at the end of each school year. I would come home and promptly put my backpack full of papers and books in the closet and prepare for two months of freedom! And I would live that freedom to the fullest, rollerblading around the neighborhood, staying up late to watch movies, weekly sleepovers and time spent doing just what I wanted.
But as much as children are supposed to loathe the end of summer—I always enjoyed going back to school. I loved the autonomy and unstructured nature of summer, but I also really needed the routine and structure of the school year. Getting into a routine that made my life comfortably predictable, organized, and yes, I even loved the challenge a new school year would bring. Going back to school at the end of each summer signaled growth, not just in my height but in responsibility, privileges and maturity.
This speaks to the duality of what children need and want. As much as they might try to convince us they don’t need structure—they do. But they also need that freedom synonymous with summer, the ability to follow their own instincts, motivations, and interests. Time that is unstructured doesn’t have to end when that first school bell rings this September. This school year help your child and your family find that balance. Make sure to help your child and your whole family find that comfortable routine—and plan some unstructured time too.
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor
Michigan State University Extension