By Barbara Pronin
One minute you’re thinking it’s time to shop for school clothes, and the next minute they’re off to the bus stop – and while nobody wants to rush those last lazy days of summer, now is the time to prepare your kids for the school year ahead.
Teachers and child care experts offer thoughtful tips for easing the family into fall:
- Talk it up – Offer your kids positive vibes about the upcoming school year. Is this the first time they will ride their bikes? Play in the school band? Join swim club? Paint word pictures that will ignite their excitement about going back to school.
- Get organized – Set aside time for them to try on last year’s clothing, shop for replacements, and take advantage of school supply sales.
- Have a discussion to set school rules – What will be your teen’s school night curfew? What’s the after-school schedule? What are school night and bedtime routines? When and where is homework to be done?
- Plan the first week’s routine – Know what the kids are going to wear that first week and what will be packed in school lunches. Planning ahead can save time and tears later.
- Plan a fun back-to-school breakfast – Get the year off to a happy start with a favorite family breakfast on the first day of school.
- Reset their inner time clocks – At least a week before school starts, begin to wean your child away from staying up late and sleeping-in in the morning.
- Have a dress rehearsal – Will your child be walking to a new school? A different bus stop? An after-school center? Do a run-through before the first day, and reinforce stranger-danger rules.
- Prepare for their first evening home – Kids may come home on that first day with a school calendar, a stack of papers to fill out, or a list of needed supplies. Keep your calendar clear so you have the time to attend to whatever is necessary.
- When you ask how the day went, mean it – Ask questions if your child is not forthcoming, and really listen to what they say. Knowing you are interested will help keep them talking as the school year progresses.
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