It’s nearly time for falling leaves, pumpkin carving and holiday shopping. Okay, I might be getting a bit ahead of myself. However, no one can ignore the glaring “back-to-school” advertisements or the look of anticipation in the eyes of school-aged kids.
Along with buying the new backpacks and binders, there are other considerations that may make the transition from slow summer play to the rigors of another ambitious academic year seamless. Here are five.
- Beware of dilly-dallying and lollygagging! Check in with the kids to make sure summer assignments are complete. If the books on your child’s summer reading list have not been read, consider audio books. Reading a novel is academically preferable, but there’s no need to suffer through sleepless nights or create an adverse sentiment toward reading. Plus, it’s important to start the new school year off on the right foot and by giving your procrastinator a break you can secure promises of dedication and diligence in the future. This goes for any other incomplete assignments. Help them out as much as possible, without actually completing the task solo and elicit better work ethics henceforth.
- Wish Mister Sandman a found farewell. Bedtime and morning routines need to be re-established. School-age kids need 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night. Middle schoolers need as much sleep as kindergarteners but will fight bedtime like a toddler. However, it’s vital to be stern and consistent. There is a direct link between attention and learning problems and sleep deprivation.
- Look on the bright side. Create a positive perspective about the upcoming year, even if you’re not excited about dragging the kids out of bed each morning. Remind them how much fun it will be to see friends missed all summer. Build up the new grade level with rumors of fun-filled activities.
- Try monetary motivation. Take the kids shopping for school supplies and clothes, but before pulling out your credit card, scan last year’s school handbook or check in with the school office to make sure you’re not wasting money on prohibited apparel. Most schools do not allow baggy pants that reveal boxers, mini skirts, high heels or excessive accessories. There may be other, more specific rules as well.
- Take a field trip to school. See if classroom assignments have been posted and inspect the new classroom. If you’re lucky, you may even get to meet the new teacher. Many teachers are back in their classrooms cleaning, organizing, rearranging and planning curriculum weeks before school starts. They are delighted to meet enthusiastic students and parents. Who knows, you might be able to lend a helping hand!
Most importantly, enjoy these last few days of languid summer. Savor a few more family picnics, even if they are in the backyard. Bombard the kids with water balloons and relish one more jaunt to the beach. These memories will keep the whole family warm when reminisced all too soon over a cup of hot cocoa on a long winter night.
Contact Margaret Lavin at email@example.com.