Back to School Tips

September is around the corner and kids and parents are getting geared up for the  start of a new school year. Whether this is your child’s first year or 12th at school are you preparing yourself and your child for the upcoming school year.   Here are 5 quick tips to get yourself and your family ready for school.

  1. Re-establish regular and sensible bedtime and mealtime routines.

We’re more relaxed over summer about getting our kids to bed, especially if you’ve taken the summer off with your children. Start getting everyone ready for the early morning routine and long days at school by getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Start limiting and reducing electronics around bed time and getting your minds and body ready for sleep. It’s more difficult to get teens to bed but this is the time to get them into a regular sleep schedule.

  1. Clear your own work schedule.

Talk to your boss to postpone or limit travel the week leading up to school and the first few weeks once school has started. The beginning of the school year is not the time to take on new projects such as volunteering at new events, and extra projects around the house if possible. While you still need to go to work, you don’t need additional stresses and you want to be free to help your child adjust back into the school routine.

If you can and not all work schedules are flexible, try to be there for their first day of school if possible. See if you can arrange to be late to work so you see your kids off to school or come home early so you can see your kids get off the bus. If you can’t make it to your child’s first day at school see if you can get a camera to your caregiver so she or he can get that 1st day at school photo for you.

  1. Remain calm and positive & reinforce your child’s ability to cope.

Kids feed off of your emotions. If you’re uptight or worried about them going to school they will pick up on your emotions. Your children model their attitudes and behaviours after your emotions and reactions. Let your child know that it can be natural to be a little nervous sometimes you start something new. And it’s important to listen to your child. Some children are shyer, take more to warm up, and may be anxious. Don’t brush off their concerns or worries.  Listening to their worries and letting them voice their concerns can reduce their level of anxiety.

These tips apply even if your child is going off to university.  It’s important to reinforce your child’s ability to take on new tasks and remind them they have the ability within themselves to problem solve. When your child presents a problem to you don’t be too quick to provide them with a solution. You want to encourage a discussion on how they would problem solve for themselves.

  1. Keep organized. Select a spot to keep backpacks and lunch boxes. And prepare some easy meals ahead of time.

Designate a spot for your children to place their school belongings & lunch boxes. This will reduce morning chaos, confusion, and tears. We are creatures of habit. It can be helpful to create a spot for lunch boxes and backpacks.  You also want a place to put all important school and extracurricular activity notices and information sent home for you to see. No one likes panicking in the morning for the pizza lunch sign up sheet or the school trip permission forms. Initially remind and help your children to unpack their lunch boxes. And overtime make them responsible for their school belongings.

If you can plan to have a few easy to make meals the first week back to school. There is no harm in having take out or ready made meals as you both settle into the new routine. Having kids help at mealtimes can also give you the opportunity to casually talk about their school day.

  1. Let your children know you want them to succeed but you don’t expect perfectionism.

It’s important to encourage your children and let them find their own niche in life. While we want our kids to succeed it’s important we don’t create an environment were they fear disappointing us if they don’t get that A+. Kids don’t know how to naturally study. Studying and being organized is a learnt skill.

Talk to your children how they build the learning blocks and study habits for good grades. Help your child organize their school work and school notes. Does your child do better with looseleaf or would a notebook for each subject help keep them organized? Do you review your child’s homeowrk and how they are doing in each course or subject? It’s easier to catch up and get extra help early in the school year then discovering at report card time Junior is struggling.

Put the responsibility for good grades and studying on your child but be there as a coach or support person for your child’s education. So interest in what they are learning at school. Ask them questions and have them show you their notebooks, class notes and assignments. Most schools send home agendas and expect your child to use them. Review the agenda with your child and if it’s always blank, have a discussion on how and why to use an agenda. If you can show your work agenda to your child, do so they can see how agendas are important in the workplace.