It’s that time of year again … back to school. While some may lament the end of summer, a great number of parents welcome the return of structure brought on by the school year. To help kids ease into the transition, parents can address these areas.
1. Set a regular bedtime. Pick a bedtime and stick to it. Not only does this ensure the kids get an adequate amount of sleep, it gives mom and dad some quiet time in the evenings, too.
2. Meet the teacher. If you missed the open house or back to school night, be sure to touch base with the teacher to introduce yourself. Read all paperwork that the teacher sent home at the beginning of the year and check online grade books regularly.
3. Make homework a priority. Sports, clubs, and fine arts classes usually also begin at back to school time. It’s important for parents to keep homework at the top of the priority list, though. If grades start to slip, then cut back on the extra-curricular or social activities.
4. Provide quiet study space. Ensure that kids have a quiet place to study and do homework. Keep the TV off and music low during homework time.
5. Eat dinner as a family. This is one more routine that helps set a schedule for the evenings. It also gives the family time to talk about the day. Kids who participate in regular evening mealtimes learn how to hold conversation with adults and how to use table manners. All of these skills are beneficial for the future.
6. Prepare clothes at bedtime. The mornings are crazy if everyone is running around looking for clothes and shoes. Lay all these out the night before to save time in the morning. This is a good tip for adults, too.
7. Pack backpacks at night. In addition to clothes, have the backpacks and lunches ready to go before heading to bed. In the morning, kids just pick up the packs and walk out the door.
8. Use a calendar. Train children to write important dates and events on the family calendar. A calendar that’s located in a central area, such as the kitchen, provides a convenient place for everyone to write and check upcoming events. This also trains kids on the use of time management devices. Older kids can track appointments and events on their phones or tablets.
9. Limit screen time. Only allow screen time, such as TV, video games, or computers, after all homework and chores are completed. Even then, keep it short and monitor the content for age appropriateness.
10. Encourage exercise. One hour of exercise is recommended every day for kids. Be sure to get kids outside and moving each evening, especially if they’ve been sitting most of the day.
Consistent habits will help kids start the school year on a positive note!
Contact Holly McElwee at [email protected]