Whether you’ve been counting the days until school starts in anticipation or dread, there’s no doubt that the new year always comes with changes and re-adjustments. If you struggle with back-to-school challenges, here’s a few thoughts to help with the re-entry.
- Be a stickler about sleep. Establish a reasonable bedtime so that your child will be well-rested and ready to learn in the morning. Keep the bedtime consistent; your child’s lack of sleep will have repercussions in the classroom.
- Insist on a good breakfast. This is where pre-made breakfasts are a huge help. You don’t have to get up and cook a huge breakfast every morning. But don’t let your child sneak out without something solid in his stomach. He will be more alert and do better in school if he does.
- Write down the details. Be sure you and your child write down details like his locker combination, what time classes and lunch start and end, her homeroom and classroom numbers, teachers’ and/or bus drivers’ names.
- Keep a calendar. Either have your child keep a personal calendar or use a wall calendar to record when assignments are due, tests will be given, sports practices, rehearsals, etc.
- Help your child get organized. Encourage them to set out what they need the night before: backpacks with homework and books, clothes laid out in their bedrooms.
- Provide bonding opportunities with the other kids. If your child is going to a new school, look for a way to help her make at least one friend right away. Ask the teacher if he’s noticed who your child hangs out with. Ask your child if he has friends he’d like to invite over. If your child is shy and needs a little push, invite the whole family over; chances are good that before the visit is over, they will be friends.
- If you pack your child’s lunch, take some extra time to write encouraging notes.
- Set up a routine. Kids look for excuses to avoid homework. Help them fight procrastination by setting up limits and routines. Set up a designated homework station (like the dining room table or a desk and set a time when homework is done each day. Then, enforce it!
- Don’t skip open house. Even if you already know your child’s teacher, your presence at open house will show your support and give you a chance to express that to the teacher. And it also shows your child that you are interested and care about her education.
Have a great year and keep looking for ways throughout the school year to be involved and supportive in your child’s school experience, a must if your child is going to perform to his potential academically.
Janis B. Meredith, sports mom and coach’s wife, writes a sports parenting blog called jbmthinks.com. Her new booklet 11 Habits for Healthy and Positive Sports Parents is available on Amazon.