8 Best Back To School Tips For Parents
Establishing a solid back-to-school routine helps your children thrive in school. And, establishing that new routine isn’t just for the kids, it’s for the parents, too. After enjoying the summer months together as a family, it’s now time to switch gears. For kids, that means getting to school on-time, learning new material, doing homework, and studying for tests. For parents, that includes attending school events, open houses, parent-teacher conferences, as well as plays, concerts, sports activities, and school fairs.
A successful back-to-school routine for kids also includes getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and having enough downtime, as well as play time, on a daily basis! Parents need to make this a part of their back-to-school plan, too. So, how do you ease your family back into a school routine? Read our 8 best back to school tips for parents listed here below:
1. Get ready during the summer.
Before the school year starts, have a conversation with your children about what they are looking forward to learning when they go back to school. If they are eager to get a head start on their school work, find out if you can get a reading list from the school. You can also mentally prepare your children by keeping them on track academically all summer long. Libraries have summer reading programs, or you can give your kids incentives for reading books on their own throughout the summer. Do your research online to find affordable camps to keep kids engaged throughout the summer, ranging from drama, to computer skills, to math, to music and art camps.
2. Visit the school before school starts.
Even if it’s not your child’s first year at school, taking your children with you when you need to pick up or drop off any paperwork before school starts helps them become familiar with the school. Check to see if you can arrange for a school tour before school begins, especially if any changes have been made to the school, the playground, or school grounds. If you are new to the area and your child will be attending for the first time, a school visit will certainly help your child make the transition. And, if your child is moving to the next step in their education, such as middle or high school, a school visit or tour will help them feel more at home.
3. Go school supply shopping together.
Another back to school tip for parents is to check the school website to get your child’s supply list. Take your children on a school supply shopping trip to get them in the mindset that they will soon be going back to school. Let them pick out their own pens, pencils, notebooks, scissors, crayons, backpacks, and any other school essentials. Make sure to look for special back-to-school deals and coupons. Also, take inventory of what items you may already have around the house.
4. Invest in a calendar or a planner.
Kids perform better when they have structure and routine, and a calendar or planner can help them stay on task. Calendars with big, white blocks for each day of the month are a great way for elementary school students to keep track of homework assignments and accomplishments. You can also help your children manage their time, by posting friendly reminders or blocking out periods of time for homework, or downtime. Don’t forget that all kids love a day off of school. Decorate school vacations with stickers on the calendar. For middle and high school students, a planner helps them see the “big picture” view of the entire school year, by month, by week, and by day. Help them create monthly and weekly goals for writing a paper or creating a project. Calculate how many days it will take them to reach their goals and help create a plan for working toward that goal every day. Setting these goals will avoid the need to cram at the last minute.
5. Make shopping for school clothes a family event!
It’s always fun to visit the mall or your favorite store to shop for clothes, socks, underwear, jackets, and shoes. Keep an eye out for back-to-school special deals and sales. To save money, you might consider visiting a thrift or consignment store, or swapping clothes with friends and family. Make sure to wash and iron hand-me-downs so they look crisp and new. Keep in mind, however, that purchasing at least one special item, such as a pair of jeans or a t-shirt, will help your kids make a fresh start.
6. Get in sync.
Help your children organize their school day, from what time they should wake up—so they have enough time to brush their teeth and wash their face or take a shower—to how much time they will need to complete homework. Allow ample time in the morning schedule for breakfast and chores, such as letting out the dog or cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen. Factor in a 10-minute buffer time as well, allowing for any unexpected events, to guarantee your kids will get to school on time.
7. The night before matters.
How you prepare for the next day affects how smoothly your morning routine will go. Every evening, help your kids select what they are going to wear the next day, or, if they wear a uniform, make sure that they have a clean uniform ready to go. Getting your kids in the habit of having their books, homework, and backpack ready the night before, and put in the same spot, will make everyone’s morning stress-free.
8. Make the most of after-school hours!
Of course, going back to school means your kids will have homework. But all work and no play isn’t good for anyone. Make sure that your children have enough time to play after school and to rest. Extracurricular activities, such as sports, music, or art classes, can enhance your kids’ education, but don’t let extra activities consume all of your children’s time. Shuttling your kids to after-school activities every day of the week can create undue stress.
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