At the start of summer break, didn’t that first day of school feel like eons away? But hey! Here we are! As the dog days of summer come to a close, prepping your little students to restart the academic year is a crucial part to a successful road ahead.
As Learning Resources celebrates 25 years of the Gears! Gears! Gears!® building sets, we offer 25 tried-and-true tips for GEARing up to what will no doubt be their best year yet. Let’s hit the ground running!
25 Tips & Tricks
- Re-introduce proper bedtimes and wake-up times. About two weeks before school starts, hop back into the regular sleep schedule to avoid those oh-so-late nights and morning rushes, perhaps pushing up times by 10 minute increments.
- Reunite with old school friends. Call up some much-talked about buddies from last school year for a play date or get together, pumping up kids for a familiar face that first day.
- Build a family calendar. A great organizational tool, introducing a color-coded calendar for each child serves as the family’s go-to spot for all that is coming up.
- School supply shopping. The school must-haves run is definitely fun for everyone, and is an ideal way for your children to express themselves through their lunch box character or notebook cover.
- Make time for breakfast. The most important meal of the day lives up to its reputation – make this a must every morning leading up to the big day.
- Distraction-free dinners. For those first few weeks of school, really carve out time to sit down to a family dinner complete with substantive conversations, minus the screens.
- Restart the squeaky clean routine. Skipping baths or showers was the name of the game during the summer, but a regular school night cleansing prevents the morning rush that can make everyone run late.
- Create a homework schedule. Whether right after school, soccer practice, or dinner, set aside a mutually agreed upon time for your child to do homework each night.
- Design a homework station. Designating a spot ahead of time for your children to tackle their nightly assignments – stocked with all the necessary tools – will ensure a routine that makes everyone feel prepped and ready.
- Re-establish “Grand Central Station”. Summertime usually means looser schedules and less commitment, so now is the time to keep the supplies, backpacks, equipment, calendars, school shoes, etc. all in one centrally located place.
- Limit screen time during after-school hours. Get in the routine in mid-August by saving those magical hours between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. for extra-circulars or STEM-centered projects, not staring at the TV or tablet.
- Join after school clubs or extra-circulars. With your child by your side, decide on after school activities that pique their interests and give them something to look forward to right out of the gate.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Make it a daily priority to not just find out how school was, but what they liked and didn’t, what they are concerned about, what their friends are up to…the list goes on.
- Talk about your own school memories. Most of the time, kids love to hear about your own school experiences that were positive, like teachers you liked or special projects you worked hard on and received good marks.
- Keep your cool. Avoid becoming chaotic or high-strung around those first days of school and your children will follow suit.
- Wardrobe? Check! Going through your child’s clothes to see what fits or not will definitely help with any early morning anxiety as the first day of school marches closer.
- Plan out lunches ahead of time. Most schools release a lunch schedule in advance, so take the time to determine with your child if they will be taking a lunch or eating the one offered, or a mix of both.
- Do a dry run. Pile everyone in the car to determine how long it will take you to get to school, or if the bus is in their future, time how long it takes to walk to the stop.
- Fight back against germs. Reinforce good hand-washing habits at home before the start of school to combat any potential viruses from making their way to your abode.
- Get to know the teacher. Email the teacher ahead of time to introduce yourself and suggest your child write them a “hello” note telling him or her a little about themselves.
- Plan a time to read to your child each day. Studies have long proven that children that are read to each day have greater success in school, so make it a daily priority to cuddle up with a good book.
- Learn to love first-week mistakes. Did your child put their backpack in the wrong cubby? Laugh about it, learn from it, and teach your child to move on.
- Learn the school lingo. A visit to the school’s website, blog, or social media accounts will help you and your child get the school’s vernacular down so its all easily recognizable that first day.
- Keep it positive. The end of summer can kick up stress for children who might struggle with certain subjects, so ask them about their worries for the coming year and remind them there is not a problem you can’t overcome together.
- Plan for some fun! An ice cream run? A trip to their favorite park? Plan some after-school entertainment to shake away stress from that first day.
The 2019-2020 school year will be a good one, we can feel it! Best of luck!
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