Somehow, someway, school is once again upon us. Millions of students all around the world are starting to feel the butterflies associated with the rapidly approaching school year.
The start of school can also be a stressful time for us as parents, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several things we can do to make the transition from summer fun to autumn studies a smooth one. I have compiled a list of five helpful tips that will ensure a successful school year for you and your child.
Develop an organized nighttime routine: Sleep. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of sleep in your child’s school success. A tired child is a tired student. A tired student is typically an unsuccessful student. By establishing a sensible nighttime routine, you can put your son or daughter in a position to succeed.
The most obvious element of this routine is an early bedtime that allows for at least eight hours of sleep. Some other things you’ll want to do include deciding on the next day’s outfit the night before, limiting the amount of sugar and caffeine your child ingests after a certain time, and participating in a brief winding down activity before bedtime.
Establish an organized morning routine: Just as important as your nightly routine is a daily routine, one that is simple, organized, and efficient. Mornings can be hectic and, as a result, can be the source of much anxiety. The good part is that they don’t need to be. Having a plan from the time your kid wakes up until he walks out the door is the key to a smooth – and stress-free – morning.
Before school even starts is when you will want to establish the order of events. Be sure to leave no stone unturned, as you will want to map out each and every activity of your morning well before you encounter them. These activities include waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, grabbing backpacks and other belongings, and leaving for the bus.
Kick off each day with a healthy breakfast: God only knows what your kids will eat throughout the day when they are away from you, but you can get them off to a great start by feeding them well before they leave.You want them to feel energized, both mentally and physically, so a nutritious meal packed with protein is an essential part of a breakfast that puts your kid in a position to succeed.
Label everything your child wears, uses, eats, etc.: Kids lose things. It’s simply a fact of life. As much as you teach, preach, and practice responsibility for their personal items, you should expect your kids to lose at least one item of theirs during the school year. It might be a sweater. Or it might be a binder. Worst case scenario, your child loses a backpack containing both their sweater and their binder.
Since you already know that your kid will lose something, your best defense is to label the heck out of everything. And yes, I mean everything. This includes socks, shoes, shirts, pants, sweaters, coats, textbooks, pencils, pencil cases, individual food items, and the backpack that carries them all. Seriously. Label all of it. You will feel much better knowing that these items will eventually make their way back to you once they are inevitably lost.
Set aside one-on-one time to discuss daily goals and expectations: A friendly morning reminder of the day’s plans, goals, and expectations is always a good idea. Having a brief face-to-face before your child leaves for school is an excellent way to reassure him that there really is a plan for the entire day – and that you believe in his ability to successfully maneuver his way through that plan.
Discuss any big items that might be a source of stress, including upcoming tests, project due dates, and altered plans for after school. Also, the morning is a great time to nudge a kid in the right direction as it pertains to behavior, manners, and the like. Most of all, remind your child that you are his biggest fan. After all, once school is over and summer makes its triumphant return, you will still be there.
The start of the school year can be stressful, but following the above tips will make things much more tolerable. Feel free to comment with any suggestions you have for parents. And most of all, I hope you and your kids have a great school year!