by Pam Molnar
A successful school year is as easy as learning your ABC’s. 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.
Breakfast – 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.
Chores –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.
Downtime – 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.
Exercise – 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.
Friends – 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 – Your child will be hungry after school. 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 him – 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.
Illness – 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.
Join – 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.
Keep Trying – It is hard to see your child not get the role, position, or grade that he hoped for. Encourage your child to pick himself back up and try again. Disappointment builds character and gives them the tools to succeed.
Limitations – 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.
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.
Nutrition – Plan healthy meals ahead of time. Stock up on ingredients for quick healthy meals that your family enjoys. Save time by using the crockpot or prepping food ahead of time.
Organization – Save yourself some sanity in the mornings by organizing things the night before. Lay out clothes, make lunches the night before, and put backpacks and shoes in the same place each night.
Provide a good example – While words are important, your actions mean so much more. In other words, practice what you preach.
Quality Time – It is 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 is important to stay connected and catch up on each other’s day.
Rules – 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.
Social Media – 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 is 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 his time wisely by prioritizing so he will not be up at midnight doing homework.
Volunteer – It 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.
Workspace – Establish where your child will do his homework. Is the kitchen table too distracting? Does he have a desk in his room? Choose a space that is quiet and has all the tools he needs.
Xtra Help- Get a jump start on finding a tutor for your child. If she struggles in in a subject, look for someone who can keep her on track this year.
Year of…. – Help your child set achievable goals this year. Make this the year of straight A’s, perfect attendance, or lead in the school play.
Zzzzs- Keeping a regular bedtime routine and getting a good night’s sleep is important. Listen to your body and go to bed earlier if you need it.
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three.
This is her 13th new school year as a parent.