By PATRICK MCNAMARA
Following a learning-filled, fun and relaxing summer, it’s time to get back into the school routine. If you didn’t start preparing before the school year, there is still time. Don’t let the first few weeks of school slip away. Start your routines now to help yourself and your child succeed with a fresh mind this year. The habits and routines you establish now will go a long way helping your child have a successful year.
Reintroduce bedtimes and wake-up times. If you haven’t already done this, don’t wait any longer. Poor sleeping habits can have a huge impact on student performance. The sooner you get your child on a regular sleep schedule, the better. If you’ve gotten used to a late bed time slowly move it back by 10-15 minutes each night until you’re at a manageable time. Having a consistent and early bed time will make it easier for you and your child and will help avoid morning rushes.
Get an alarm clock. It’s not just for wake-up time. For children who can tell time, a clock will help them develop time management skills they’ll need during the school year, and their future. This will help children take ownership of their activities and help avoid rushed mornings. Don’t fear, it may not go smoothly at first but it will certainly help as the year goes on.
Review last year’s report card. Unless problems were addressed over the summer, it’s likely they may return again this year. This is a good way to assess last year’s weaknesses so you and your child can work on them early this year. Sit down and make a plan with your child so they don’t fall behind. This may mean including your child’s teacher or even reaching outside the school for help. Remember tackling any problems early on will yield the best results.
Put up a family calendar. A wall calendar is a great organization tool. If children can write, have them add their commitments like soccer, dance class, birthday parties, etc. Add the due dates of big projects, standardized testing dates, and vacation days. For your little ones you can use stickers or draw small pictures, so they know when their events are. Keep the calendar where it’s accessible and visible by everyone.
Have children select their clothes the night before. Choosing their own clothes is a great way for children to develop organizational habits and independence. Having clothes picked out the night before also helps cut back on the morning rush and possible fights in the morning.
Make early contact with your child’s teacher. Don’t be afraid to stop in to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher, or teachers. If it’s easier, drop them a quick email to say hello. Ask how you can support classroom learning at home, and if you have time to offer, ask how you can help by classroom volunteering. It’s good to introduce yourself early so if you do have any concerns as the year goes on, you will already have that line of communication established.
Know your child’s friends. Plan a play date, even if it’s only for an hour or two, and don’t let the kids hide away downstairs or up in your child’s room. Make a snack, play a game, or work on a craft together. Get to know these little friends now and listen to how everyone interacts.