Back to School: Creative Tips for Parents
By Amy K. Williams’
Summer is rapidly coming to a close, and parents everywhere are trying to plan, prepare, and organize for a successful back to school transition. With some thoughtful, creative consideration, getting kids back into their school routine and ready for a successful school year can be a snap. In addition to the usual suggestions such as getting them back into a regular bedtime routine and attending the school open house, here are five unique ideas to help your kids rock this school year.
Create a theme for the year.
For younger scholars, this may be coordinating folders, lunch box, and backpack with their current favorite character or pattern to help generate excitement for going back to school. For older students, this may be a personal quote or mantra to write in their agenda or post on their bulletin board to help them keep focused on their goals for the year. This can help them maintain a focal point and provide a regular reminder of their goals to help keep them on track.
Set goals and provide rewards when goals are met.
Help your child determine some goals for the school year. This could be mastering multiplication tables, reading a certain number of books, or earning certain grades. Or maybe your kid is a whiz at academics but struggles socially. Relevant goals could be joining a club, making new friends, or trying a sport. Whatever the goals may be, make sure they are attainable and reasonable, and then reward them when reached. As part of your planning, let your child come up with a menu of reasonable and realistic rewards he or she can choose from when the goal is reached. These could range from a special treat to an outing with you, for example. Having viable goals to work towards and then being rewarded for hard work is a great way to build positive reinforcement for desired behaviors and habits.
Plan weekly “team” meetings.
You and your kids will need to work together as a team for a successful school year. You need to be aware of what’s going on at school, what tests and projects are coming up, and what materials may be needed, for example. The kids may need help with time management and organization. Have a regular weekly team meeting to touch base and set the schedule for the following week. Celebrate each child’s accomplishments from the previous week, discuss any issues that may have came up, and determine what needs to take priority for the upcoming week. This is a great way to stay connected and provide the guidance kids need while teaching them to be accountable for their responsibilities.
Create a cool study area. Children learn best when they have a designated study area. Help your kids choose and create a neat study nook where they will actually want to do their homework. This should be in a somewhat quiet area of the house that can be relatively free from distraction. Consider the lighting and seating. For example, consider having the work area near a window with natural light. Some kids prefer to sit up straight, while others require movement and may benefit from sitting on a yoga ball. Find a clock and/or timer to help them keep track of time, or for kids with attention issues, use the timer to have them work for a designated time and then have break. Hang a bulletin board with a calendar and room for notes and reminders. Have any materials they may need readily available, such as paper, pencils, markers, scissors, etc. This will help them stay focused, organized, and on task.
Buy a gift for the teacher.
Let your child choose a small back to school gift for his or her new teacher, such as some scented hand sanitizer, a gift card to her favorite coffee shop, or a small box of chocolates. Attach a personalized note with all of your contact information on it and a comment about looking forward to working together for a great year.
Getting back into the routine of school doesn’t have to be a struggle. Following a few simple tips can help your child have a smooth transition back to school and create a positive attitude for the whole school year.
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