Back to School Tips (For Parents)
Riding with the windows down and the radio up on the most beautiful day of the summer, my son said something unexpected a few weeks ago. He looked over at me and said, “I’m actually ready to go back to school.”
For my kids, the combination of a set schedule and a list of expectations provides them with a sense of consistency that they enjoy. Knowing this, it’s actually not surprising that my son, as well as many other kids, are ready to return to school. Now that we’re in the groove and out of the craziness of the last few weeks of summer, here are my tips for easing back into the school year:
- – Pepper dinner-table chat with talk about the coming school year:
- •What are you looking forward to most?
- •What do you think your biggest challenge will be?
- •Even mundane topics can be fun for kids – do you want to take your lunch or get hot lunch at school?
- – Create a three-ring binder with your kids that will become their “information center.” Print out the school’s code of conduct or manual and insert it in the back. Then, include one tab for each child and fill it with plastic sheet protectors for:
- •Weekly/monthly lunch menu
- •Snack calendar
- •A place for updated grades
- •Emergency contact information
- •Best buddy parent-contact information
- •Sports practice calendar with coach-contact information
- – Set clear expectations for your kids. Or, as I like to call them, “circuit breakers.” At our house, an example would be: “If you bring home less than a C grade without having asked for help, then there will be no electronic games until you bring it up.” Circuit breakers also work well for getting up on time and completing homework.
- – Make an appointment NOW to get their sports physicals. There is nothing worse than last-minute rushing to schedule an appointment in the busy back to school season.
- – Take inventory of school supplies and clothes BEFORE you go shopping. One year, we were shocked to unzip Rudy’s backpack and find it FULL of unsharpened pencils he bought at school the prior year because he was trying to win a prize. Once you know what you have already have (scissors, pencil cases, three-ring binders, etc.), it makes it easier to cut down on what you buy. Hope it’s not too late for this!
Finally, “may luck be ever in your favor.”