The return-to-school-year ads have been appearing earlier and earlier every summer. July??? This is just too dog-gone early! July is family month. Time to chillax. Time to just “be.” August is the month to start planning for the school year. With it being mid-August…there is no time like the present for Amazing Mom’s to start organizing for the upcoming school year. As a Licensed School Counselor, I wanted to share my tips for a seamless return to school for your most prized possessions…your children!
Being an Amazing Mom on her Healing Cancer Journey means that you may need to start earlier this year to plan for your children’s return to school. Your focus still needs to stay on you and your healing journey. But, if you start earlier (Ok..how about August 1? But, not July! July is the one month you should truly relax in the hot summer days on the lake!)…planning the return will be a piece of cake!
My Top 10 Tips For a Seamless Transition to the School Year For You and Your Kids:
1.Start having your children go to bed earlier.
- Start with 10 minute increments until your child is at the designated bed time for the school year.
- Teach your child to set his/her alarm clock.
- Setting the alarm clock teaches independence and is a game-changer for less stressful mornings.
2. Shop the deals – at the stores, online, and/or both!
- Have your children compare prices online and in the newspaper ads.
- Decide on a dollar amount for each child for clothes and school supply shopping.
- Whatever amount is left-over…your child gets to keep. Teaches budgeting skills! And, they are motivated to find the best deals.
3. Organize the family calendar
- Life becomes so busy once the school year begins!
- Set up a family calendar in August. White board on the wall? Paper calendar? Online calendar?
- The best family calendar is the one your family will use! We have morphed from white board to paper to using an online Google Calendar. Just find the method that is simple and easy to use!
4. Work with each of your children to find what organizational method works best.
- This is not a “one-size-fits-all” organizational system. For example, I have found that an agenda book works best for my youngest. My oldest son has moved into an online calendar on his phone.
- A successful school year = being ORGANIZED. Set up your student for success by investing in a planner/agenda or set up an online calendar.
- Teach your student how to use his/her organizational system. Sit down with each child before the school year begins. Lay out your expectations and create incentives to use the organizational system. For example, if your child writes down what is due in the agenda book each day, shows it to you every evening (except Friday and Saturday nights)…they will receive an agreed upon reward. Works like a charm! Everyone is motivated by something! Find that “something” and use it. On the flip-side, if your child does not fulfill the expectations…the agreed upon consequence comes into play. No surprises and everyone knows the expectations!
5. Teach your children how to pack a healthy, nutrient-dense lunch.
- School lunches are not healthy. PERIOD. Encourage your children to make and pack their lunch.
- Sit down with each child and have them write down what they would like in their lunches. A healthy lunch: protein, veggies, fruit, and water. Throw in a snack for the bus ride home.
- Show them how to make their lunches the evening before. In the morning, your child simply puts an icee in it and is out the door without much hassle.
6. Help your children purge their rooms of outgrown, outdated, and unused items. Purge your house.
- Someone, somewhere would be happy to use your items. Donate them to the local Goodwill and/or Salvation Army.
- Toss what you are unable to donate. Recyle the rest.
- A clutter-free environment creates a good flow of energy in their bedrooms and in your house.
7. Set up a study area that is free of distractions, is tidy and is organized.
- Invest in a desk and a comfortable chair for each child. Consider an adjustable desk so they can alternate between sitting and standing. Our kids sit too much in school! Give them the gift to stand while studying.
- Have each child take ownership in setting up, organizing and decorating the study area.
- It should be distraction-free and fit each child’s personality. For example, one of my son’s has difficulty focusing. His desk is set up in our Zen Den. Our other son can focus more easily and his desk is found in our upstairs family room by a window.
8. Get all school supplies sorted, in backpack and ready for school.
- Bring your child and school supplies to the school before the first day of school!
- Visiting the student’s school before the first day alleviates anxiety, dread, and being overwhelmed! The student knows where his/her locker is, is familiar with the school setting and may be able to meet teachers ahead of time.
- Our school has an Open House before school starts. The students are able to meet their teachers and bring in their school supplies so they do not need to lug them on the bus the first day of school. Attend your school’s Open House! If your school does not have one; suggest to the principal about starting one.
9. Walk your children to the bus stop so they know when and where they will be picked up & dropped off.
- If you are working and cannot escort your child to the bus in the morning…this is especially critical for your peace of mind and your child’s!
- Introduce yourself to the bus driver if you are able to escort your child to the bus stop.
- Make sure your child has his/her bus card to get on the bus. Our boys have a tag they attach to their backpacks so the card is always on them. If your child does not need a bus card, make sure you have your child’s name, address, phone number, and emergency number in their backpack in case if there are any transportation issues. It is difficult to help a child that is emotional and cannot remember this information!
10. Send an introductory letter to your child’s teacher about your child.
- I found this letter extremely helpful when my boys were in elementary school. My boys each had health issues the teacher needed to be aware of. I found an introductory letter was well-received and well appreciated!
- It is a win-win as your teacher gets to know your child better and quicker… and, you have a peace of mind that your child’s needs are being attended to.
- As a licensed school counselor, I found teachers were always thankful to receive information that would help them get to know their students better. Quite often I would hear from teachers “I wish I would have known…”
- Remember: Teachers are human and want to help your child! Help teachers help your child by giving them information needed. This is especially true if there is a medical concern, an ill parent/grandparent, and/or anything that may affect the child’s ability to learn in school.
Make it a great start to the school year by planning ahead and helping your children get organized for it.
Affirm: I support my children’s education by helping them prepare and organize for their school year. My children are always safe and all is well!