Back to School We Go! 5 Tips for a Great Start

Can you hear it yet? You know, the quiet flutter of forgotten homework papers, the morning late bell ringing, or the tearful sobs of unhappy children wearing socks they hate? Are you cringing at the mere thought of it all?

Hopefully this doesn’t sound like your typical start to the school year, but if it does, you’re not alone. Unfortunately I cannot offer you a magic Happy-School-Day pill, however, I can try to help with the basics.

As always, the lazy days of summer will eventually come to a close signaling a new academic start.  Soon we’ll be packing lunches and backpacks like pros again. Preparing now will help to prevent unnecessary hiccups from threatening your chances for a stress-free and successful beginning to the school year. Don’t we all want our kids to have a fair chance full of peaceful mornings and then excited replies to your “How was your day?” Do cows moo? Duh, of course you do!

Hopefully these few tips will get you going in the right direction. Well, that, and perhaps a few gallons of extra strong coffee. But I digress.

Here are some things you can do to help your child (and yourself!) to prepare for the upcoming school year:

Keep Calm and Sleep On

Are you just as convinced as I am that most children consider sleep to be the most pointless activity ever? As impossible as it seems to find a good balance, getting quality shut-eye is so important to their health and well-being. I know, I know. Nothing good in life ever comes easy… but you can do it! Creating a bedtime ritual and routine that allows them to ease into sleepy time is key. Try starting bedtime 30 minutes earlier so that your child doesn’t feel rushed. Throw in a warm bath and some books for good measure and you can’t fail! Hey, stop laughing… it’s possible!

Keep Calm and Befriend the School

Your child’s school staff and teachers will be your greatest ally in ensuring your child’s academic success. After all, they will be with your child 6+ hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months out of the year. Whew! Just the thought of it makes me want to bow down in praise to these wonderful human beings. Be sure to introduce yourself and reiterate your desire to be involved in your child’s learning process. Volunteer when possible and always keep an open line of communication. It goes a long way to let the teacher and other staff members know that you care through both your words and actions. Oh, and maybe throw in a special treat or two every now and then or a quick note of thanks. Didn’t you know chocolate and thank-you notes are the cure-all for a stressful week full of unruly kindergarteners? Well, now you know!

 Keep Calm and Eat Healthy

Look, I’m not going to pretend like getting kids to eat their veggies is easy. In my experience, it is quite the torturous undertaking actually. It’s no secret that a healthy breakfast, followed by a nutritious lunch can make all the difference in your child’s attitude and willingness to learn throughout the day. Scrambled eggs, YES! Donuts, NO! Don’t shake your head at me. I am fully aware that I am basically asking you to put a round peg through a square hole. Get creative and find kid-friendly recipes that are both fun and wholesome. Who knows, Ants on a Log may be just what your little one needs to ace that math test! And if all else fails, bribe them with a sugary treat AFTER school. Your teacher will be most appreciative.

Keep Calm and Try it On

Nothing starts off a bad morning like a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. School mornings are already crazy enough. Who needs their wardrobe to make it any worse? Try picking out each outfit the night before and for the love of ill-fitting pants, try it on! If you’re really feeling overzealous, you could even pick out the whole week’s worth on Sunday.  Nothing says “PANIC!” like a hectic morning topped with a heaping dose of frenzy as you simultaneously try to find a matching sock and discover that your jeans “don’t feel right”. You know that sweater she loved last month? It is now the most repulsive thing in the entire universe. “Finicky” is my daughter’s middle name. I know some of you feel my pain. Say it with me, people: Pick it out and try it on!

Keep Calm and Read On

This might arguably be the most important thing you can do for your child to prepare for both school and life in general. Countless studies have shown the incredible benefits of reading. Whether you read to them, they read to you, or they read to themselves, it makes no difference. It’s all great in my book. Ha, what a clever pun! You’re shaking your head again, aren’t you? Sigh. In any case, can we all just agree that reading takes a huge role in encouraging a thirst for knowledge and expanding one’s imagination? Why not take advantage and sneak in a bit of learning knowing your child will be none the wiser to your master plan? Cue evil laugh…

I hope that these few tips help you to embark on a new and exciting start to the school year. There are so many things to look forward to: new friends, new teachers and new learning adventures. Don’t let being unprepared keep you and your child from getting the most out of what your school has to offer. Best wishes to all and may each of your school days be prepared!

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