Whether we like it or not, back to school time is upon us, and summer as we know it is ending. Having the freedom of summer has been fun, but now it’s time to start thinking of all things school: buying supplies, school outfits and shoes, bedtime routines, and packing lunches. Some may be shouting with joy as we send our kids back to the routine of school life, while some may be dreading the next phase. Whether you are a seasoned veteran, or a novice, here are five do’s and five don’ts to consider the first week of school, or really for the whole school year.
- Have an emotional breakdown when you send your kids to school. (You can cry when they leave!) Letting them know it will be a good day and that this is a normal part of growing up, will help them feel secure.
- Use baby talk or your favorite nicknames for the child at school. Believe us, your child will thank you.
- Turn the music up in your vehicle while you are dropping off your middle schooler. Starting middle school is hard enough without their “cool parents” embarrassing them. They are trying to discover who they are and make new friendships. (Of course, you are still cool!)
- Decide to bring lunch to your child on the first day. Let them get settled building relationships with the friends they will spend the year with.
- Go to their classroom, unpack their backpack and organize their school supplies for them. When/How will they learn the responsibility of taking care of their things if we are doing it?!
- Ask them how their first day was. Carve out time to sit down and ask open-ended questions like: What was your favorite part of today? What is one goal you would like to achieve this year?
- Sit down for dinner as a family. There is nothing better that you can do for the health of your family and child(ren) than to share a meal. This gives security and makes your home a “safe place”. We all have busy schedules, but try to make it a priority sometime throughout the week.
- Create a system to organize all of the school papers. You may want a place where you can keep information on hand that you’ll need frequently.
- Gradually move the kids’ bedtime up. While they may complain, their sleep is an important part of succeeding at school.
- Offer to volunteer in your child’s classroom, if time allows. This is a great way to help their teacher and get to know their friends.
Certainly this isn’t an exhaustive list of things you can do to prepare your child, but it’s a good start. The important thing is to make the year fun. Be the trusted adult your child relies on for their healthy future, and you can conquer anything the school year tosses your way.