South suburban spotlight
If you want your kids to be ready to start the new school year, you have to first close out the summer, says Donna Searcy of Romeoville.
The Searcy children, 15-year-old Matthew, 14-year-old Colleen and 10-year-old Kyle, know summer is over when the family heads to Six Flags Great America. The Searcys have been ending the season this way for as long as the kids can remember.
"We try to go the week before school starts," says Searcy. "It is a great way to end summer and by doing this, the kids know that this is the week things start to wind down and our routine is going to change. Having such a distinctive end really helps the kids transition better."
There are other changes the week before school starts that help to signal the end of summer: no more summertime chores, the change in bedtime and wake-up routines and shopping for new clothes and school supplies.
"Shopping for school supplies and new clothes seems to help my kids start organizing their year," says Searcy. "My daughter Colleen says that all of the new folders and notebooks help her get in the mood for school."
To get your child in the right mindset, Searcy says you have to foster a positive attitude. "Years ago, there was a commercial for an office supply store that had the father buying school supplies and mocking his children." she says. "Kids shouldn’t have to feel as if the beginning of the school year is the end of the world. It is really an opportunity for new friendships, a clean academic slate and trying new clubs and organizations."
Every year, at the end of the first week of school, the Searcy family goes out for pizza or ice cream. "It is a signal to our kids that the end of summer doesn’t mean the end of fun."