Help your kids head back to school at any age with some early planning.
Sure, your children are the ones who will soon be heading off to the classroom. But returning to school is an adjustment for
everyone in the family. So it’s crucial to be organized, equipped and fired up for a successful beginning.
While you still have plenty of time, learn what you can do to help make your family’s back-to-school transition a smooth one.
In the early grades, kids study language arts, math, science and social studies—and develop better people skills.
Establish a routine. Having a familiar morning, after-school and bedtime pattern is important. When kids know what to expect, you’ll spend less
time negotiating what gets done when.
Make separation easier. If you’re anxious about your child starting school, don’t show it. Consider saying good-bye in the carpool line instead of walking your child to class. Most kids have a hard time separating when their parent is at the classroom door.
Show interest. Ask your child to name three things she did that day. You’ll get a window into her world, and she’ll get to brush up on her
oral language skills.
Assist with assignments. Stay nearby while your child is doing schoolwork so you can lend a hand if needed.
Going to middle school is a big transition. Kids now have multiple teachers and must juggle daily schoolwork with long-term
Get organized. Give him a schedule planner so he can keep track of school assignments and regular commitments, like band practice.
Rehearse changing classes. Kids worry they’ll get lost when moving from one classroom to another. Go to the school when your child gets her class schedule so she can walk her route.
Designate a homework spot. Provide your child with a place to hit the books that has plenty of light but limited distractions.
Be interested, not intrusive. Going over your child’s planner with her: smart. Calling her teachers about every minor issue: overboard!
Take time to listen. Several days a week, let your child share her concerns.
Bolster confidence. Peer rejection is a big concern for this age group. Remind your child not to overvalue popularity.
Teens may have more subjects now, plus after-school jobs and activities. Help them balance their lives.
Explore school groups. Having a niche is important for high schoolers. Suggest activities like chorus, theater or sports.
Ensure that your child gets enough sleep. Adolescents need eight and a half to nine and a half hours of shut-eye per night to be well-rested and ready to tackle the school day.
Teach your child to speak for himself. It’s tempting to fix his problems, but it’s more beneficial to train him to handle them. For example, if he’s unhappy with a grade, help him rehearse what to say to his teacher.
Spend time together. By regularly talking with—not at!—your teen, you’ll give her a chance to share any issues she’s facing.
Attend events. When you go to open houses, lectures, games and performances, you’re telling your child that you value his school life.
Complete these assignments before school gets underway and you’ll save yourself time and energy:
1. Create a family binder. Put vital information and important paperwork in a three-ring binder. Make a section for school that includes carpool schedules, class phone lists and e-mail addresses, trip permission slips, lunch menus and contact information.
2. Post a family calendar. Record school holidays, practice dates, doctor’s appointments and other commitments.
3. Create a kid in-box. Designate a basket or tray for your children’s nonessential school papers (such as news about after-school programs) as well as their art projects.
4. Plan breakfast. Make grocery shopping and morning meal prep a breeze by deciding on a weekly breakfast rotation. Get your kids onboard by asking for their input. Anyone up for waffle Wednesdays or pancakes every Friday?