It’s a new school year, and you want your child to make the most of it!
We’ve compiled a few tips to make the year go smoothly for your kids—and your entire family.
1. Aim for Early Arrival A perfect way to start off the school day. Regardless of how old your children are, school-day mornings are probably at least a bit chaotic.
Padding your schedule by just 10 or 15 minutes can make a tremendous difference in everyone’s anxiety level!
TIP: (If you normally wake your child at 5:45 AM so you can get them to school by the first bell at 7:00 AM, wake them up at 5:30 AM, and proceed as if the first bell actually rings at 6:45 AM. (You’ll probably arrive at precisely the right time!)
2. Feed Their Hunger for Success Food is fuel! Without a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your kids will not be running on all cylinders. Set them up for success by planning ahead. Hard-boiled eggs, bananas, and yogurt make nutritious grab-and-go breakfasts. Healthy lunches (that will be eaten) should include items you and your kids agree on. A bit of meal prep on the weekends helps you avoid falling into the drive-thru dinner trap.
3. Don’t Weigh Them Down Make sure your child’s backpack isn’t too heavy. It shouldn’t weigh more than 20 percent of his or her body weight (otherwise it can cause muscle pain and bad posture.)
TIP: If your child must carry a heavy load, consider a rolling backpack.
4. Establish Cell Phone/tablet Guidelines If your kids have their own cell phones/tablet, you may have relaxed the rules over the summer and let them text, play games, and take selfies as often as they want. If you haven’t already, now is the time to set limits. Depending on your kids’ ages and schedules, establish “phone-free” times so they’ll focus on their homework and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Some studies conclude that smartphones may be causing problems for today’s youth, so reducing their smartphone use may help.
5. Create a Homework Zone Few kids look forward to doing their homework. You can make the prospect more tolerable by setting up an inspiring workspace for them. All you need is a quiet corner or place. Enlist your kids’ help decorating the space with artwork; a cozy bean bag, floor pillow, or hammock for reading; a small table or desk; a lamp; a basket of school supplies; and even healthy snacks. They may begin to look forward to homework!
6. Get to Know the Teachers Your child’s teacher is a huge factor in how successful the school year will be. Get to know your kids’ teachers, check in with them regularly to see how things are going, and offer your assistance. Teachers are stretched thin, with limited finances and time. Ask if you can help by making photocopies, shelving library books, reading books to the class, replenishing school supplies, volunteering during recess, etc.
7. Implement a Five-Minute Chat Especially if your kids are older and busy with extracurricular activities or an after-school job, build in time for a quick one-to-one check-in every day. Commit to spending at least five uninterrupted minutes with each child every day (before bedtime, perhaps). Simply ask them to share a few highlights (or low-lights) of their day. Focus on their words and on their demeanor and body language. If your child is having a problem, you’ll be more likely to identify it and help them resolve it before it becomes more serious.