A new school year stretches ahead like an blank chalkboard waiting for your child to write the story of her future. As you and your family squeeze the last few drops out of summer, these tips will help your child embrace the changes and challenges the school year brings as she prepares for back to school.
Embrace technology. Kids and electronics go hand in hand. Nurture your child’s love of electronics with quality education apps to help him learn as he plays. Ask your child to teach you more about the computer programs and apps he uses for school and homework.
Kids who read succeed. Encourage your child to read at least 15 minutes each day. If your child is too young to read alone, read aloud to her every day. Reading is one of the most important tools for school success. Kids who can read well perform better in the classroom and on standardized tests.
Math matters. If you’re a math wiz, share your love with your child. If math’s not your favorite, don’t let it show. Pick up a math activity book and encourage your child to work a few pages each day. Work on addition, subtraction, multiplication or division skills with your kids with flash cards from the dollar store.
Adjust bedtime. Sleepy kids are cranky kids. Move bedtime 30 minutes earlier each night and your child will gradually adjust to the school year schedule. Although this works best when started a week or two before the beginning of the school year, even a few days of earlier bedtime helps kids adjust
Practice the school routine. Wake your child up earlier each day and practice the school day morning routine. Set school day bath or shower schedules if there are more people in your family than bathrooms in your house.
Set goals. Help your child map out academic goals for the new school year. Goals give your child a road map to success. After setting goals, help your child plan baby steps to reach her goals.
Talk with your child about handling bullying at school. Discuss what your child should do if he’s bullied including talking to a teacher or administrator and telling a parent. Keep your eyes open to signs your child is being bullied, which may include: unexplained injuries, damaged clothing or property, loss of friends or dropping grades.
Discuss bus, car or walking safety. If your child will walk to school, practice walking her route. Kids are safer when they walk together, so talk with other neighborhood parents about creating a walking group. If your child is a bus rider, review the school’s bus safety rules. If your child is a car rider, be sure she buckles up and doesn’t dart out in front of traffic in the school parking lot.
Choose a special outfit for the first day of school. Shop with your child for something new or let your child pick a favorite outfit from his wardrobe. Be sure to take first day of school photos for his scrapbook.
Plan lunches and snacks for the first week of school. Check the school’s lunch menu and let your child decide whether she wants to buy or pack lunches. Place individual baggies with healthy after-school snacks on a shelf your child can reach.
Do what works. Does your child study best right after school or does he need a little time to decompress? Help your kids decide the best time of day to get homework done. In some families, more difficult homework waits until after dinner when parents are able to help.
Make plans to stay in touch with your child’s school and teachers during the school year. Sign up to volunteer in the classroom if you can. Getting to know your child’s classmates and teachers will make it easier to know if there are any problems.
It’s never too late to help your kids prepare for the upcoming school year. Kids who are ready for school have a better chance for success. Whether your child is in elementary, middle or high school, stay involved in school activities and attend special events throughout the year.