For parents putting bright-eyed students on the bus for the very first time and for seasoned moms and dads who know the drill inside and out, gearing up for another year of school is a process. The shopping extravaganzas, trips to the doctor for physicals, endless forms and paperwork all culminate in a single moment: the first day back to school.
Often, it’s this first day (or days) that set the tone for the school year to come. Help your child feel prepared and confident to tackle whatever the school year brings with these tips for a successful start.
Plan well-balanced meals:
Summer break brings a lax approach to many aspects of life, and healthy eating is often one of them. However, nutrition plays an important role in overall development and countless studies show correlation between academic performance and good nutrition. As the school year approaches, work at creating healthy menus. If hectic scheduling makes it difficult to get well-balanced meals in lunchboxes and on the dinner table through the week, allocate a portion of the weekend for a family prep session.
Easing back into earlier bedtimes will make things smoother for everyone when the alarms start ringing on early school day mornings. Well before the start of school, gradually back off more time each night – in 15-minute increments, for example – to get kids back in bed early enough to capture at least 10 hours of sleep, the amount recommended for school-aged children and adolescents by the National Institutes of Health.
Part of the fun of heading back to the classroom is a shiny new set of supplies. Build your kids’ excitement by letting them select the tools they’ll use to bring home good grades, like pens and pencils. Despite a keyboard and touchscreen-driven world, sales of color-focused products like felt-tip markers, porous (fine line) pens and colored pencils are on the rise.
Developing interests outside the classroom builds confidence and character, teaches discipline and may help reveal hidden passions or talents that translate into future scholarships or career choices. Now is an ideal time to explore the options available in your community and complete necessary registrations as many extra-curricular activities are closely linked to the traditional school calendar.
Follow the paper trail:
The volume of paperwork associated with sending a child to school can be overwhelming. From registration forms and emergency contact sheets to physicals and immunization records, the list goes on and on. Keep on track with a list of all the materials you’re responsible for completing, along with special notes for those that require visits to the doctor’s office or other appointments.
Take a tour:
Especially for new students, but even for experienced kids, spend some time getting familiar with the school before the big day. Seeing the bus drop-off location, classroom, bathrooms, cafeteria and any other major features ahead of time can help soothe jitters and lets you proactively answer worries or questions about how those first days may unfold.
Establish a transition tradition:
Celebrate the end of summer and the fresh start ahead by creating a special family tradition. It may be a final backyard campout for the season or a scrapbooking project that captures memories from the summer and describes goals for the school year. The time together to talk about what lies ahead can help get the family geared up for a successful school year.
Express Personality with Style
Encouraging your child to develop his or her own unique personality can be tough with social “rules” and official policies that determine dress code, supplies and more. When you get down to it, though, there are dozens of ways to let kids explore personal expression without breaking any rules or subjecting them to unwanted attention.
Accessories: Even at schools with uniforms or dress codes, there is some latitude when it comes to accessorizing. Dress codes vary, but many allow flexibility in things such as socks, shoes, hair bows and jewelry.
School supplies: Let kids choose their own writing implements as a personal statement of self-expression, which is especially important to middle and high school students. With so many options, it’s easy to bypass the basic bargain selection and choose from an array of new designs and creative features, such as those offered by Zebra Pen.
Personal space: For younger students, the area designated as a student’s own may be limited to a backpack or storage cubby. For older kids, there’s an entire locker to consider. Customizing these personal areas lets kids assert a clear stamp of individuality. Photos, artwork and treasured mementos bring these personal spaces to life.