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Preparing Your Students for a Successful School Year

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Posted by Emily Anderson

Image of children

It can be tough coming off of those carefree summer days and headed back into structured schedules, homework, and extracurricular activities.   Follow these tips to make the transition back to school easier.

Do you have a nervous child on your hands?

Find another child in the neighborhood who your student can ride or walk to school with.  Remind your child about positive memories from the last school year.   A little extra TLC from mom and dad the first day (or week) doesn’t hurt.  Drive or walk your child to school, and pack something special in their lunch.

Worried about bullying?

Give your child the tools to deal with it. Teach your child how to respond to the bully, by either standing tall and walking away and/or telling the bully, “I don’t like what you are doing” or “Please don’t talk to me like that.”  When those measures do not work, empower your child to talk to you and his or her teacher.  If your child confides in you, alert school officials.

Is your child getting enough sleep?

Studies have shown that kids who don’t get enough sleep suffer from a myriad of physical and mental health conditions, increased automobile accidents, and a decline in academic performance. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has even recommended delayed school start times for middle and high schoolers.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep times per age group:

  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours

Do you have a good homework routine?

Homework goes with the back-to-school territory. It’s good to set expectations of your child early.  Set a routine.  Will the homework be done immediately after school?  After a snack? After a dinner? Where will the homework be completed?  At the kitchen table? In the child’s room?  Setting these expectations early will help to avoid the negotiation game later.

Do you have enough “brain food” in the house to get your child through the day?

A good school day begins with a healthy breakfast. That breakfast should include healthy carbohydrates (whole grain breads, oatmeal, granola) to fuel the brain, and clean proteins (eggs, turkey sausage, Greek yogurt) to sustain your child until lunch.  Keep your eye on the school’s lunch menu.  Not seeing foods that you consider healthy?  Purchase a cooler pack and stock up healthy cold lunch items to maintain good eating during the school day.

Are your schedules in sync?

When everyone has separate calendars and to-do lists, things get missed and overlapping activities cause undue stress.  Hang a large family calendar where all activities, appointments, and obligations requiring special transportation or child-care are included.  Also consider a large white board for to-do lists and reminders.

The mornings are rough, aren’t they?

Try these time-saving steps the night before to help ease the morning tension: set out clothes; pack lunches; have breakfast ready; have backpacks packed (library books; homework; permission slips; gym shoes; etc.).

Tired of this exchange with your child? “What did you do today?” “Nothing.” Have family dinners together.

The only way to keep the lines of communication open with your child is to make time for conversation.   Evenings are busy, but everyone has to eat.  So make a commitment to have dinner as a family.  Can’t do it every night due to activities?  Try for three nights a week.  The more opportunities you give your child to talk to you, the more he or she will open up.

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