Get a Great Start to Make Your Child’s Year a Success

How you start the school year can determine how well the rest of the year will go.  Teachers, counselors and parents say doing these things helps ensure children get off to a great start:
Review safety lessons – how to walk to school safely or ride the bus; classroom and school rules for behavior.  

Put your child’s name on things so they won’t get lost.   (Clothes, books, backpacks.)      

Minimize television and computer game time during  the week.           

Set the scene for homework.     Match the environment to your  child’s  work style.  Some children need quiet.  Others are helped by a little sound – like classical music.

Start your morning at night.  Help your child choose the day’s clothes.  Pack lunch.  Gather homework and sign school papers.  

Establish bedtime and homework  routines.  Pick a time that your child will do homework and go to bed.   Then stick to it.  For elementary age kids think – 7-8:00pm bedtime.  

Don’t over schedule your child. Give them time to unwind after school – especially during the first  few weeks of adjusting.  Make sure they have free time to just play.

Start your morning with protein foods and select healthy snacks.

Teach respect by showing respect.  Say “please” and “thank you” to your child.

Be genuinely interested in your child’s schoolwork.   Ask about school every day.  Ask them to teach you what they are learning.  Ask  them to explain how they do things well – do not focus on mistakes.

Say at least one positive thing to your child each day.

Routines and Schedules Start the Year Right

The start of a new school year is exciting.  But it means kids and parents will need to make some adjustments.  Here are some ways to get your family back into a good routine for the school year.

Set the rules.  Make sure your kids know what you expect new that they are back in school.  Set a specific time to do homework.  Enforce rules for TV watching.  Set aside some time each day for reading.  Create a chart for the first few weeks of school – until your routines become habits.  Give your child a gold star on days when he does everything without being asked.

Manage correspondence.  The start of the school year means a lot of paper going between home and school.  Set up a place where your child puts all the paperwork from school.  Sign it and put it back in his book bag by the next day.

Keep track of schedules.  Post a calendar where everyone will see it.  Then have everyone write down their activities as they are scheduled.  This will help you plan ahead.  If your child knows a book report is due the day after a soccer game, he’ll see that he needs to finish it early.       

Parents make the difference!

Source:  Jan Faull, Unplugging Power Struggles, 2000