BACK TO SCHOOL – EASY STEPS TO A SMART START.September 20, 2016 - Author: Omonioboli - No Comments
Move over summer, a new school year is here! School bells begin to ring and so do early morning alarm clocks. It’s time to get back into those busy school schedules, homework, meals and hectic rounds of school and sport activities. With the start of school, families face new organization challenges but with a little planning, you can make going back to school easy and stress-free.
So let’s do this together; get ready and get organized. Buying notebooks and scoping out sales is the easy part, there are less tangible things you can do as well.
Some smart tips to make transitioning easier for you and the family
- Ease the family into a school year schedule
The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually. During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they’ll need to rise when school begins.
Don’t neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.
But when the school rush comes, hustling your child out the door will be less painful if she has broken summer habits like relaxing in her PJs after breakfast.
- Get Organized.
Take advantage of the slower pace during time away from school to set up for the busy school year ahead. Many schools send out school information and a packet of forms to fill out before school starts.
If you can discipline yourself to fill out the paperwork several days before it’s due, you’ll avoid a last-minute panic. Have the necessary immunization records available for easy reference. Update school emergency contact and health information for the coming year. As you read through all the school information, mark important dates (such as back-to-school night, parent-teacher conferences, and school holidays) on the family calendar. Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find and refer to them if necessary. Establish a “get ready the night before” policy. Pick clothes for the next day and pack the backpack every evening before bedtime, and you’ll save precious time in the morning.
- Plan before you shop.
It’s always a great idea to buy what you know you’ll need early, if you can. Go through your children’s wardrobes and weed out everything they’ve outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get them dressed quickly and easily. Keep in mind school dress codes while shopping.
Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you’ll avoid in-the-store tantrums.
Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Forewarned is forearmed… and helps protect the family budget.
- Nutrition: Plan healthy meals.
Get creative with easy, healthy ideas for school-day meals. If you plan and gather what you need on the weekends, you’ll make life a lot less stressful and meals more nutritious during the week.
Remember the most important meal of the day. Fruit smoothies/milkshakes make a quick and healthy addition to the usual fare.
If you will be packing lunch from home, be sure to have a sturdy lunch box or a supply of paper bags on hand.
Plan dinners for the week ahead and shop on the weekends to avoid last minute trips to the grocery store.
- Set priorities and schedules.
To make the best use of your time and keep life from being harried, think about priorities for family members and then schedule them into the week.
For children: Before school begins, discuss what extracurricular activities your child will participate in. If your child needs a little extra encouragement to audition for ballet or to take that early morning French class, now is the time to go over the benefits of these activities.
If, however, your child needs to have limits set, have them pick their favorite activities and forgo the rest. Make sure to leave enough time to do homework and for family time.
For parents: Determine how much time you can give to the school each month as a volunteer and involved parent: in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events and on school-wide committees.
For the family: Start a family calendar in a common area where each family member can write down his or her activities.
- Prepare for homework ahead.
Having set routines and a place to study at home will make it easier for your child to be organized and successful at school. Set up a well-lit, quiet place with a good work surface to do homework. Try to keep this place dedicated to homework and free of other clutter. Establish a regular homework time; this will help your child to complete assignments on time. Discourage distractions such as television, internet, or phone conversations during homework time.
- After school plans.
School gets out before most working parents get home, so it’s important to figure out where your children will go, or who will be at home, in the afternoons. You might find an after-school program through the school itself. If possible, try to arrange your schedule so you can be there when your child gets home during those first few days of school. It may help your child adjust to the new schedule and teachers.
If your child will be home alone after school, establish safety rules for locking doors and windows, and for answering the door and the telephone. Make sure she knows to check in with you or another adult when she arrives at home.
- Attend Orientations to Meet and Greet
Schools typically hold orientation and information sessions before the start of each academic year. These are good opportunities for you to meet the key players: your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principal, and most importantly, front desk staff. “The secretaries know everything and are the first people children see when they arrive at school every day.”
- Talk to the teachers.
Of course, teachers are the reason your child is there. When you talk to your child’s teachers, ask about their approach to homework. Some teachers assign homework so kids can practice new skills while others focus on the accuracy of the assignments they turn in. Ask for the dates of tests and important assignments so you can help your child plan accordingly. For instance, if you know a big test is coming up on Friday morning, you will know to keep things simple on Thursday evening.
- Make it a family affair.
Together, you and your child can plan for success in school. Sit with your child to create a routine chart. Ask your child what she wants to do first when she first gets home from school: play outside or do homework? Her answers go on the chart. “The more kids have ownership in creating a routine for themselves and setting expectations, the more likely they are to follow it.”
Simple I guess! Now let’s try and get organized for the best school year ever! Enjoy the busy days ahead. #GrowEveryDay #ProudNunuMom