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From the Mommy Desk…
It’s hard to believe that the lazy, dog days of summer are coming to an end, but the school supply lists are out and the “back to school” sales are on, so I guess it’s true. Most of the local schools will start the last week of August, so here are a few tips for moms to get the kids ready…
– Get the school supply shopping out of the way early – and involve the kids. I know it’s tempting just to get it done yourself, but involve the kids and let them pick out their own folders, etc. It will get them more excited about returning to the classroom.
– Get back in touch with those classmates they might not have seen over the summer. For younger kids, arrange play-dates with friends and rekindle those friendships.
– If your child is starting a new school be sure to visit that school prior to meet the teacher day. – find out about school hours, lunch policy, bus arrangements, etc. Visiting the playground is always a good idea.
– Start to gradually go back to a school bedtime and especially a realistic school wake-up time. If you have a teenager like me, start waking them up a bit earlier; otherwise it will shock their system to start waking up at 6:30am when they have been sleeping in. Being tired at school can also reflect in their performance.
– Fresh starts are so promising that we tend to overdo them. While change is good, the timing requires some reflection. Too much too soon can make even the most cooperative child balk. Focus on the start of school, and revisit the other issues after your kids feel more settled.
– Open up lines of communication and encourage your child to talk about any feelings they are experiencing. Many kids experience a lot of anxiety about starting a new school year, especially if they are going to a new school or a different campus.
– Check with the school and make sure you know when meet the teacher or schedule pick-ups are and be sure you attend with your child. Do not skip these. If you are able, get yourself involved too by signing up for parent organizations or telling the teacher you will come in as a volunteer in the classroom.
– Discuss the morning routine with kids to help reduce worry and stress for them and for you. Allow kids to be involved in the decision making process – when to shower, what clothes to lay out, what they will have for lunch, when bags will be packed, etc. Letting the kids wake-up with an alarm can ease a lot of tension in the morning. Let everyone in the house know what is expected of them in the morning – waking up on time, getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, packing backpacks – and what time you will leave for school. Set expectations before school starts.
– If you sense that your child is getting overly worried or anxious about the first day, I think keeping things low-key is the best advice. Don’t over emphasis the importance of going back to school and try to keep things normal.
– Exercise their brains. Studies have shown that most kids have to relearn a lot of material from the previous school year when they return to school in the fall. I think most moms have great intentions of keeping the kids’ brains engaged throughout the summer, (get real) but at least if we start now we can help give them a jumpstart before classes begin.
Before you know it, you’ll be packing lunch boxes and backpacks and kissing your children goodbye (or if they are past 3rd grade just a “see you later, love u, bye”) as they go back to school.
From one mommy to another,
Jenny Wilson is a mother of three. She teaches a Mommy & Me class at Central Presbyterian Day School, serves on the PCT Board and Children’s Theatre Advisory Committee, the CAC board, the Parent Association Boards of Aikin, Crockett and PJH and was recently elected to the Paris ISD School Board of Trustees. Mrs. Wilson is a Sunday school teacher at Holy Cross Episcopal Church. She also is a certified yoga instructor, Jazzercise instructor and marketing consultant.