Back-to-school time can be filled with excitement, anxiety, and all kinds of emotions! Use the tips below to help set your children - and yourself - up for a successful new school year!
Set a school-year bedtime sleep schedule and begin the transition today!
During the summer months kids often don’t have a set bedtime and awake time, so it is important to re-establish a bedtime and morning routine for your child. Starting early can help you and your child be ready for the first day of school.
Set goals for the year.
Every student’s goals for the new school year should include getting the best grades he or she can (according to ability), studying hard, completing homework correctly and on time, asking for help when it’s needed, and demonstrating good behavior. But you can help make the school year more exciting and more interesting by encouraging your child to come up with some goals that are just for him or her. Winning a role in a school play, making a sports team, participating in the spelling bee, getting a better grade in math than last year, working for the school newspaper, and running for a class office are just a few of the possibilities. Setting individual school goals allows children to “stretch” themselves, have new and differentexperiences, and perhaps find something for which they have a real passion. Remember, each child has his or her own abilities. So, if winning isn’t the right goal, then set a progress goal that helps that child stretch and work hard, and reinforce the process, not just the outcome.
Set up a school station.
Busy families often need a system to keep things in order and avoid missing deadlines for school forms or homework, forgetting things at home, or remembering to wear gym shoes on PE days. Set up school stations and make sure everyone knows where they are, what they are for, and practice using them. Sample stations could include:
Knowing your child’s schedule will help you help them in school and can improve communication. You will get a better response when you ask "What games did you play in PE today?" or "What did Mrs. Martin show you in art?" rather than "How was school?" It can also help determine how often your child will need to pack a lunch (if there is an unpopular meal or a special event at school). Posting schedules on a refrigerator is one way to accomplish this.
In/out box for School Forms
In the coming weeks, you'll be getting everything from school supplies lists to health forms to permission slips to contact lists. Think through the organization of all that information now. Collect all forms you receive for each child and go through them at one time with your child(ren). Set up a filing system for everything. (You might consider scanning the forms to your computer, keeping a digital record rather than a cluttered paper trail.) Having a place for kids to put forms that need your signature or that you need to review, that is visible on the way out the door, is a great way to avoid missing important deadlines.
Set up a specific area for homework stocked with needed supplies, that is away from the television and other distractions. This will help your child be productive and focused!
Set an evening schedule
for homework AND family time.
It is important to proactively set a homework schedule so your child knows your expectations from the beginning. This can cut down on arguments and bargaining. It is also important to make a point to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes connecting as a family. If dinner together isn't an option, try one of these ideas: play a game, take a walk, snuggle on the couch. This simple tweak in your evening schedule will do wonders to reduce whining, sibling rivalry, and marital strife.
Set up a “trial-run” of
the first day of school.
The first day of school is very exciting but it can also be stressful. If your child is anxious or nervous, set up a trial-run of the first day to practice the morning routine as well as the drop-off and pick-up process. This can help reduce stress and sets your child up for a successful first day!