The ABCs of a Successful School Year
Accept new challenges – Push your child to go outside of his comfort zone. Encourage him to try activities, learn new sports and make new friends.
Breakfast – We all know breakfast is important. If there’s no time for a sit-down breakfast, provide on-the-go foods like muffins, fruit or protein bars.
Chores – Help your child develop responsibility: Give him a few jobs that you expect done each day before or after school such as making his bed or feeding the dog.
Downtime – Be sure to add free time to his schedule, to relax on the couch, play video games or have a last-minute pickup game with neighborhood friends.
Exercise – Balance your child’s sedentary school day with plenty of exercise outside after school, including unstructured play with friends and a more structured team practice.
Friends – Encourage your child to invite new friends over so you can know the person he is spending time with. It is a great opportunity to meet the friend’s parents, too.
Grab and Go Snacks – Your child will be hungry after school. Provide him with pre-bagged healthy snacks that won’t interfere with the dinner hour such as veggies and dip or hummus and crackers.
Help your child, but don’t do it for him – Children won’t learn if we do it for them. It is okay to give suggestions, but remember that it is their name on the paper.
Illness – It’s back to school and back to a room full of germs. Stock your child’s backpack or desk with tissues and hand sanitizer. Remind him to wash his hands and to sneeze into his arm.
Join – Encourage your child to join activities at school. It gives them a sense of belonging.
Keep Trying – It is hard to see your child not get the role, position or grade that he hoped for. Encourage your child to try again. Disappointment builds character and provides the tools to succeed.
Limitations – Only you know your child’s limitations. While being a part of extracurricular activities is important, sometimes they are overwhelming. It’s okay to say no to invitations and extra practice when your child is overwhelmed.
Be Mindful of Others’ Feelings – Think before you say it and apologize if it comes out wrong. Practice “the more the merrier” and include new friends in your group.
Nutrition – Plan healthy meals. Stock up on ingredients for quick healthy meals; save time by using the Crock-Pot or prepping food ahead of time.
Get Organized – Save your sanity in the mornings by organizing things the night before. Lay out clothes, make lunches and put backpacks and shoes in the same place each night.
Provide a good example – While words are important, your actions mean so much more.
Quality time – It is easy to get wrapped up in back-to-school schedules. Try to plan dinners together or have a family game night. It is important to stay connected and catch up on each other’s day.
Rules – Remind everyone of the school year rules. Re-establish bed times, discuss the when, where and how long for electronics use and what happens when mom and dad are not home.
Social Media – Reconfirm what social media sites your child belongs to and check all passwords.
Take time to talk – Open your schedule each day and let your kids know when it is a good time to come to you with problems and concerns. You will get more out of the discussion if you are both tuned in.
Use time wisely – As our kids get older, their commitments increase. Teach your child to prioritize so he will not be up at midnight doing homework.
Volunteer – It is a great way to see what goes on at school, meet the teachers and interact with the other parents. Working parents can help at evening and weekend events.
Workspace – Establish where your child will do his homework. Choose a space that is quiet and has all the tools he needs, whether it’s the kitchen table or a desk in his room.
Xtra Help – Find a tutor quickly if your child struggles in a subject so he doesn’t fall behind.
Year of …. – Help your child set achievable goals this year. Make this the year of straight A’s, perfect attendance or lead in the school play.
Zzzzzzs – Time to return to school night bedtimes. It is hard to adjust to waking up early again so adjust it a little at a time, starting a few days before school begins.