A successful school year is as easy as learning your ABCs.
Check out these 26 simple tips for a happy and healthy 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.
We all know breakfast is an important meal. If your child does not have time for a sit-down breakfast, provide on-the-go breakfast foods like muffins, fruit or protein bars.
Give your child a few jobs that you expect done each day before or after school such as making her bed or feeding the dog. A little bit of responsibility will go a long way.
Be sure to add free time to their schedule. These are the times your child can relax on the couch, play video games or have a last minute pickup game with friends in the neighborhood.
Balance your child’s sedentary school day with plenty of exercise outside after school. Combine unstructured play with friends with a more structured team practice.
Encourage your child to invite new friends over so you can get to know the person your child is spending time with. It is a great opportunity to meet the friend’s parents, too.
Grab and Go snacks
Instead of grabbing a handful of cookies, provide them with pre-bagged healthy snacks that won’t interfere with the dinner hour. Think veggies and dip or hummus and crackers.
Help your child, but don’t do it for them
We want our children to succeed, but they will never learn if we do it for them. It is okay to give suggestions, but remember that it is their name on the paper.
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 them to wash their hands and to sneeze into their arm.
Encourage your child to join activities at school. It gives them a sense of belonging and they will be more than just another face in the crowd.
It’s hard to see your child not get the role, position or grade that they had hoped for. Encourage your child to keep trying. Disappointment builds character and gives them the tools to succeed.
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 you see 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” when making plans and include new friends in your group.
Plan ahead and stock up on ingredients for quick healthy meals that your family enjoys. Save time by using the crockpot or prepping food the night before or on the weekends.
Save yourself some sanity in the mornings by organizing things the night before. Lay out clothes, make lunches before you go to bed and put backpacks and shoes in the same place each night.
Provide a good example
Practice what you preach! While words are important, your actions mean so much more.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the busyness of back to school schedules. Try to plan dinners together or have a family game night. It’s important to stay connected and catch up on each other’s day.
Remind everyone of the school year rules. Reestablish bed times, discuss the when, where and how long for electronics use and what happens when mom and dad are not home.
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’s 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 their time wisely
As our kids get older, their commitments increase. Teach your child to use their time wisely by prioritizing so they aren’t up at midnight doing homework.
This is a great way to see what goes on at school, meet the teachers and interact with the other parents. Even working parents can get involved by helping at evening and weekend events.
Establish where your child will do their homework. Is the kitchen table too distracting? Do they have a desk in their room? Choose a space that is quiet and has all the tools they may need.
Get a jumpstart on finding a tutor for your child. If they struggle in a subject, look for someone who can keep her on track this year.
Help your child set achievable goals this year. Make this the year of straight A’s, perfect attendance or lead in the school play.
Time to return to the school-night bedtime. It’s hard to adjust to waking up early again, so adjust it a little at a time. Listen to your body and go to bed earlier if you need it.
Words by Pam Molnar, a freelance writer and mother of three. This is her 16th new school year as a parent.