As we prepared to send our little baby to school for the first time…
I couldn’t help but feel a little overwhelmed!
Clarification… my son is five-years-old… but still my little baby!
Anyway, every single parent I know feels the same way this time of year…
- Will we send the right type of pencil?
- How many notebooks does he need again?
- His teacher said three-ring-binder… but how thick?
- Markers or crayons?
Then… there’s the excitement felt by children!
The “hyperness” leading to behaviors (lots of them sometimes)…
Ah, back to school!!!
Anyway, I’ve learned many things over the years of being a parent AND teacher… here are five tips that make this time of year MUCH easier if your little one is going to elementary school (or homeschooled)…
5 Simple Back To School Tips;
1. Create a routine and stick to it.
Spontaneity has its place, but elementary-aged children thrive when they know what to expect on a daily basis.
Set a reasonable bedtime. Get up early enough that everyone can eat, fully wake up, and work through any last-minute issues before school starts.
At the end of each day, establish a routine of checking backpacks (if you homeschool, do a quick family clean up of the day’s activities), signing forms and getting set up for the next day.
Even if your child is too young for homework, establish a family quiet time (15-30 minutes) before or after dinner.
Use it for activities such as;
- Any Other QUIET Activity
2. Get Organized
Spend a weekend stocking up on art/school supplies for your home.
Keep them in a central location (milk crate, banker’s box, large basket) where everyone has access.
Be a stickler about getting your kids to put things back.
If you spend a lot of time in the car with your children, stock your car with;
- Healthy Snacks
- Cooler For Drinks
- Paper Towels
- Changes of Clothes
This saves time, money, and your sanity!
When you get home, have a place where shoes, coats, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. are kept when not in use.
3. Trust Your Instincts
If you feel your child is struggling unreasonably with a subject or is having behavioral issues, don’t brush it off as a phase.
While it certainly might be a phase, it’s worth getting things checked early. If there is an issue, it can be addressed appropriately at home, in the school, and through the use of special education resources.
Start by talking to your child’s teacher and/or pediatrician. In many school districts, resources and available assistance are at an all-time low, due in large part to lack of funding.
If this is the case in your local district, Special Needs Tutoring may help pick up where your child’s school left off.
4. Start a Family Tradition
On the first day of school have a special, unusual breakfast, after-school snack or dinner.
Take a picture that you can replicate each year to come. Spread the fun – load up your wagon with fruit, bagels and/or donuts to share with everyone at the bus stop!
5. Keep Things In Perspective
You’re going to have good days…
You’re going to have great days…
You’re going to have rotten days…
The same is true for your child!
The skills learned during the elementary years are important, but, there is not a college on the planet that will ask for these report cards.
Encourage your child without demanding too much. Remember, with elementary school kids, melt-downs can be a symptom of stress, the onset of an illness or the result of a growth spurt.
If you can learn to recognize your child’s particular triggers, you’ll find it far easier to manage the rotten days.
What are some of your families back to school traditions? Please share in the comment section below.