Helpful Back to School Tips For A Successful School Year
The new school year can be a time of both excitement and anxiety for parents and children. No matter how many first day of school parents have under their belt or tips that are flooding your in box this week, back to school season can be a challenge and a bit hectic. The transition back into the school year routine is stressful for the entire household and can be unsettling if not planned for and managed correctly.
In case you need a reminder or some additional arsenal in your back pocket to rock the start of the school year, here is a list of tips to get back into the school mode for both kids and adults.
From stocking up on school supplies, replacing shoes your kids feet have outgrown to thinking about lunches and transportation, start planning! Sit down and think about what makes the back to school routine so hectic. Is it the morning rush? After school chaos? Make a list of what you need to tackle and start checking it off. Then start to organize within your home plans and actions to make your daily routine efficient and successful. Perhaps having a family meeting to discuss best practices for homework study areas, meal planning or transportation needs. Involving the entire family will keep everyone in the know and accountable.
Set and Enforce Bedtimes
Growing kids need sleep and a routine is vital to making sure they are getting the rest they need to be successful in the classroom. Even high schoolers! Enforcing what has been set will make the schedule seamless and you can rest knowing they are getting the shut eye they so desperately need. This plan is just as important on the weekends as it is for week days. Also, establishing set wake-up times during the school day and weekends are also as important. Routine is key to good sleep habits. Have a complete plan and adjust as needed for special occasions or increase as the children grow older.
Make Ground Rules
Just like a bedtime plan, other rules need to be set that will attribute to their classroom success. No TV or gaming until you finish your homework. Phones must be put away when studying. Make a list of ground rules for the school year and stick to it.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Baths, lunch prep and outfits are a good place to start. Help or encourage your kids to lay out their school clothes the night before to make the morning less stressful. Teach them to prepare everything down to their socks and shoes so Mom isn’t racing around the house trying to find the missing Adidas. If a lunch needs to be packed, preparing it the night before can be a huge time saver in the morning. Even taking it a step farther and filling water bottles so that is in the fridge and ready to grab. Once homework is finished, have a designated spot where school backpacks must be placed and are ready to go for the next morning. If your child needs a gym bag or a sports bag packed for an after school activity, packing it the evening before and placing it with the backpack is a good reminder, not to forget it.
Establish a Morning Routine
Morning routines are just as important as bedtime routines to insure everyone has a stress-free start to their day. Discuss with your children how much time is needed to get dressed, do makeup/hair, eat breakfast, etc. If kids are sharing a bathroom to get ready, work out a schedule so fights do not erupt. It helps keep everyone on the same page with the routine and sets expectations. Communicate a set out the door time and stick to it. This teaches children to be on time and prevents the dreaded tardies from piling up in their file. Giving them the gift of a relaxed and calm morning, helps them feel prepared for school and ready to learn.
Start Your Day with a Healthy Breakfast
It is so cliché to say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for kids it really is a vital part of making sure they can stay focused. Hungry tummies can lead to distractions. Plan and execute your morning to include a healthy breakfast that will keep the kiddos going throughout the day. Providing a full blown buffet of a breakfast is next to impossible everyday with families going in a variety of directions. Here is where some additional planning can help. Talk to your children about healthy choices. A lot of meal prep can be done ahead of time – the night before or even on the weekends. Wash and cut fruit and store in the refrigerator for quick grabs. Cook up the bacon or sausage ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for the week, just heating up what you need each morning. Muffins, homemade breakfast breads such as banana or cinnamon raisin bread are also great to make ahead of time and have ready to provide in a meal. Also, home cooked pancakes and waffles can be made ahead of time and frozen and heated up as needed. Doing a little meal prep ahead of the busy morning can make breakfast a breeze.
After School Routines
Once that final bell rings for the day, the afternoons can be just has chaotic as the mornings. Having a solid plan is vital to keeping your sanity. Homework should always be the priority. Communicating that message to your children is important. It sets the tone and expectation and lets them know work before play. Again, have a routine. Establish rules for where they should put lunchboxes, etc. when they come home, how much snack or downtime they can have to unwind before hitting the books and help them stick to it. Provide quiet study space, that has limited distractions. In addition, once the school year resumes, so do the after school activities. Interest and hobbies outside of the classroom are very important to helping kids stay active and facilitates additional learning in the process. Make sure you find a good balance. Overscheduling can lead to stressed out children and parents.
Organize Your Planner/Calendar
This works for both parents and students. A family calendar can be the lifeline to organizing your hectic life and it helps tracks everyone’s activities, commitments and special events. Many apps provide family sharing for the convenience of keeping everyone in the loop of schedules. When planning out your day, don’t forget to establish a set “Family Time,” whether it’s during dinner or before bed. Life can get hectic and connecting each day is important.
On the other hand, for students, mostly older kids, setting up your planner can be one of the best parts about going back to school. Most school districts will provide a school planner to each student that helps track homework assignments. This is a vital resource and it should be a topic of discussion with your student if they are not using it. A planner helps keep students organized and on top of responsibilities, which can lead to higher grades if used correctly.
Purge throughout the year! Folders and backpacks manage to stock pile a lot of things that should be filed in the trash. Go through the schoolwork once a month to toss the things you don’t want. This process will help keep their folders organized, which can help your students find the resources they are currently using and need. File or scan assignments or projects that you want to keep.
The beginning of the school year is an excellent time to sit down and have a discussion about goal setting and what your children want to accomplish in the coming school year. Do they want to strive for straight A’s? Or maybe want to try out for a sports team? Join a new club that has always interested them or maybe they want to become the class president. Lead a discussion to help facilitate what they would like to accomplish and have them make a list before the school year starts. Make sure you keep the conversation going through the year and check in on how they are progressing. Words of encouragement are always helpful.
Take a Breath
This is just as important as the rest of the tips. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Like each and every school year, you will be busy. With a little preparation, good planning and enforcement, your kids will have a successful school year.