Each year heading back to school brings its own list of supplies, an abundance of challenges, and goals to achieve. As parents, it’s our responsibility to set our children up for success in school by being the support system they need. This being said, however, it is their duty to follow through and make school a priority.
The national dropout rate in American high schools has dropped from 12.1 percent in 1990 to 6.5 percent in 2014. The high school graduation rate reached an all-time high in 2015 skyrocketing to 83 percent. Let’s keep these stats going in the right direction.
Here is how you can make this school year a successful one for your children.
Meet the Teacher and Join the PTA
Every child has that one substantial fear when going back to school – will I like my teacher? As the school year starts, take time to participate in the school’s teacher meet-and-greets or orientation. Don’t hesitate to ask the teacher questions. Make sure you write down their school email just in case you have any inquiries throughout the school year.
Introduce yourself to the teacher on the first day and over the next few weeks, take the time to get to know a little about them. Teachers appreciate contact with parents. They want to have a face that goes with the child they will be spending the year with. Saying hello at the start makes for a much easier back to school transition; it also helps to have built a rapport in case concerns come up throughout the year. And don’t forget to sign up for help on field trips or in the classroom and join the PTA! When your face is familiar at the school, you create a better connection for your child. All hands on deck!
During the teacher meet-and-greet, make sure to grab a list of any necessary school supplies. There’s nothing worse than being the only kid to not have the requested wide ruled notebook or to not be able to put a check by his/her name as a Kleenex contributor for the community stash. Shop for school supplies ahead of time but know there will be more on the list during the first few weeks back to school. If your budget allows- give your child a chance to pick out a few items that feel special. Trendy pencils and glitter folders go a long way!
Practice the Routine
Every kid has jitters on the first day of school. They’re worried about getting lost, seeing who’s in their class, and having to introduce themselves. To ease their back-to-school anxiety, practice their new routine before the first day. If possible, walk them to their classroom exactly how they would get to it from the drop off area. If they are attending a new school, venture the school grounds for the cafeteria, front office, and any other places they might need to go. Now that they know where the main destinations are, they will feel much more confident going into their first day.
Use a Planner
One of the best tips for back to school is planning. If your child has a place to write down all of their assignments, ideas, and deadlines, they are guaranteed to be successful. A planner is a great way to keep yourself accountable and it allows parents to see what’s coming up. Plus, every kid loves a cool planner.
Get Enough Sleep
Healthy brains need sleep. Make sure the entire family gets back on a sleep routine. Summers can throw us off schedule and as laid back as they can be, many of us find we get less sleep when we break our routines. Brains have a much harder time taking in new information when they are tired. The Mayo Clinic, recommends hours of sleep based on age. So if the average amount for your 10-year-old is 10 hours, that nine o’clock bedtime is crucial.
|Age group||Recommended amount of sleep|
|Newborns||14 to 17 hours a day|
|12 months||About 10 hours at night, plus 4 hours of naps|
|2 years||About 11 to 12 hours at night, plus a 1- to 2-hour afternoon nap|
|3 to 5 years||10 to 13 hours|
|6 to 13 years||9 to 11 hours|
|14 to 17 years||8 to 10 hours|
|Adults||7 to 9 hours|
Give yourself time in the mornings to get out the door
Most parents find they have better success with the morning routine if they are up and getting ready at least 30 minutes before the rest of the house. If you have a child that needs extra time, build that in as well. Set out clothes, make sure everything is loaded in backpacks and pack lunches the night before. MOM HACK: Pack lunches for the next day during dinner clean up. Making smoothies for breakfast cuts down on time and ensures your child is fueled for the morning. Remember: Less racing around means less anxiety.
Every week, check in with your child specifically to see how things at school went and talk about what’s to come the following week. Go over their completed assignments, grades, and anything fun they might have learned. The key to your child’s success, is your involvement. Every child loves to be applauded for their hard work, and if they happen to drop the ball there needs to be a consequence. Every mistake can be a new lesson learned. This also gives you a chance to see what assignments they have coming up so you can both better prepare for the week ahead.
Going back to school is never easy for our little ones. Summer is over and being knee-deep in school work is the last thing they want to worry about. With these tips, your child is sure to have a fun and educational school year full of success. If you have any mom hacks for going back to school, comment below!
Visit our kids blog for more parenting tips, stories, and hacks!