12 Tips for Back to School by Glenda Propst
12 Tips for Back to School
Get organized. Be sure that your child has their school supplies before the first day of school. Most schools today offer a school supply list on their website for each grade or mail them out at the end of July with your child’s teacher assignment. Stores like Target, Wal Mart and Office Depot usually have a school supply list available for schools in the area.
Be sure that all supplies are labeled if your school requires it. My kids always had to have their pencils, pens and each individual crayon labeled with their name. An easy way to accomplish this is to use Avery 8167 small return address labels. You can simply set the label up on your computer, type in the child’s name and print them off. This will work for crayons, markers, pencils, folders, notebooks etc. Then you can simply take clear scotch tape and cover the label. If your child is old enough to peel the labels off or pull the scotch tape off for you, this can be finished in no time. One package will last your for several years.
For an extra special treat, companies like Lillian Vernon and Oriental Trading offer personalized pencils. This a great, practical back to school surprise.
Don’t put your child’s name on their clothes or their backpacks where anyone can read it. As cute as it is to see your child marching off to school with that adorable kitty cat backpack that has “Jessica” across the top, that name could make her the target for child abduction. A stranger can see her name and use it to make her think that they are a safe person, when in fact they may not be.
If you want your child to have something personalized, consider getting the personalized pencil case with her personalized pencils and let her choice of a back pack reflect her personality but not her name to the world.
If you have older kids you might want to let them be creative with their school supplies. Here is a “Creative Nanny Wednesday Post” from last year that they might enjoy doing.
Plan your vacation so that your child has some transition time before going back to school. Summertime is for staying up late, and sleeping in, watching movies and having family time, but try to start about 2 weeks before school begins to transition your kids back into the morning routine. If bedtime is 9 during the school year and they have been staying up until 11, do a few days of letting them stay up until 10. Then gradually bump it back to 9. The same with getting up in the morning, ease back into the morning breakfast routine an hour a day for a few days.
If you have a child who is just starting school, be sure to prepare them for the changes to come. Be sure to address all the changes as positive changes. Always present the opportunity for school as an exciting privilege instead of a dreaded activity. Refrain from saying “You are going to school and I am going to miss you so much! What am I going to do all day without you?” instead say something like
“I am so excited that you are going to school. You are going to have so much fun! You will learn new things and make new friends.”
You might want to make the new routine a little more exciting by buying them their own alarm clock, show them how to set it and start letting them take some responsibility for getting themselves out of bed.
Taking a few minutes at the end of the day, and helping your child lay out their clothes for the next morning will make the morning go much smoother.
A morning chart is also a great idea for helping your child become more responsible. This transition will not happen overnight but patience will get you there. Your morning chart can be simple or complicated. My kids always loved a morning chart. I would print it out, laminate it, and they had their own clipboard and their own dry erase marker. They could check things off as they accomplished them and all I had to do was check their chart to be sure they were on task. Your chart can be simple for younger children and more advanced for older children. One reason that works so well is because it takes the responsibility off of you and puts it on them. Nothing makes a child prouder than to be successfully independent. (Remember, you can’t go to college with them!)
Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes and think about what he/she might not know or might not understand. Be sure to allow your child the opportunity to ask questions. Even older children sometimes have doubts. I remember the first year I had a locker. My biggest worry was that I would not be able to get the combination lock open and I would be late for class. Buying a lock and practicing at home eased my worries.
Another time I was afraid of the balance beam at school. My dad made a balance beam at home with 2 wood horses and a 2×4 and let me practice on that gradually making it higher and higher. Sometimes it’s the little things that make all the difference. Be in tune with your kids and look for signs of what they might be worried about.
Take time before your kids go back to school to reflect on your summer. Talk about what you liked, what your favorite memories were, the good and the bad and then talk about the school year ahead. Encourage your children to write their memories down or make a collage of their summer fun, scrapbook a page or document it in some way.
Create at tradition of taking a picture of your child the first day of school. These pictures serve as a memory of your child’s school years and allows you to see how they grew. It’s a good idea to take one the last day of school too but at least commit to the first day. Reflecting back you will be glad you did.