Getting the school year off to a good start

Your Child and Teen Your Family
Getting the school year off to a good start

The start of a new school year brings with it many exciting, scary and uncertain feelings, not only for children and teens, but parents as well. It is important to get off to a good start so that motivation and enthusiasm can be maintained throughout the year. However, transitioning back to school can be difficult as parents attempt to re-establish routines.

Try to make sure your child gets an average of 8-10 hours of sleep a night. A good night's sleep is one of the most important things your child will need to be successful in the classroom throughout the day. Plan on enough time for your child to awake in the morning to get dressed, sit down and have breakfast, brush his teeth, and be at the bus stop. The less rushing your child has, the calmer the day begins and the more positive and productive his day will be.

Before bedtime, make sure that baths/showers are completed and lunches are packed, clothes are picked out, and homework is done. Not only is this good to do to become organized the night before, but it benefits everyone involved as there is no rushing in the morning.

When packing lunches the night before, have your child participate by helping out on what will go into her lunch and backpack. Engagement encourages children and teens to be constructive and instills confidence and pride.

Organize your calendar with important dates of performances and school assignments that are due. Organization not only will help you, but it teaches children and teens how to plan and manage their time. It is never too early for a child to learn how to use a planner and/or calendar. Once you establish a planner or calendar, it teaches your child and teen how to be accountable and responsible for dates and times, manage free vs. work time, and how to prioritize assignments.

Good organizational skills can be carried through into high school, college and beyond. One of the common questions an employer asks while interviewing has to do with prioritizing what is important and how an individual plans on accomplishing projects and meeting deadlines. Here, you have helped your child to develop a skill that will last a lifetime.

Help your child to reconnect with school. Disconnect the television and video games. Read a book together. Then you will be able to build his comprehension while also having something in common. Discuss local, state and world events or experience the outdoors together while taking a walk and experiencing nature.

Finally, communicate with your child's school and teachers. Check the school's Web site for information on the upcoming year and email your child's teacher if you have questions or concerns. The more your child knows, the less scary and uncertain feelings she will experience.

Communicate with your child and be cognizant about signs that you may see throughout the year. Open communication with your child and his teacher is the key to your child's success all year long.