April 18, 2024
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Tips to Help Get the Most Out of the New School Year

Camp season has come to a close and the start of the school year is almost here. School supplies are on sale everywhere, fall fashions greet you in 98 degree heat and children are savoring those last days of freedom.

The beginning of the year sets the tone for how the year will go, so a smooth, happy start is vital.

Here are some ideas to give your child the best chance for a successful beginning.

  1. Get back on “school schedule” slowly a few days in advance. It’s tempting to wait until the day before to buckle down on bedtimes and wake your children up, but it’s definitely not the smartest way to go.

About a week before, start getting within an hour’s range of your school-schedule bedtime and waking target times and slowly get there. It will help your children get the sleep they need while adjusting to the more rigid schedule.

  1. Organize school supplies now. If you’ve been stocking up on lots of sale items, you may assume you’ve bought everything on the list plus! But, and I’m talking from experience here, you don’t want to discover the night before school you are missing the extra-large 8 oz. purple washable Elmer’s-brand glue stick and have a child in tears. Go through the lists and fill the backpacks early so you know you are set.
  2. Prepare back-to-school gifts for your children. Yup, really. Gifts make everything so much more fun. And unexpected gifts are even better. Think first day of school. Children are excited, nervous and unsure of what the year will bring. They are entering a new room, run by a new teacher with new expectations. There’s so much to process. And then comes recess, and they open their lunchbox and discover… you know what to fill in here. Choose something that will make your child smile. (Think small gadgets, supplies they begged for that you weren’t going to get, something sports related, a piece of fun jewelry… there are a million options!)
  3. Prepare a back-to-school gift for the teachers. After 10 years in the classroom I can tell you, those first days of school are hard for teachers too! Getting to know new students, establishing routines, creating an environment for children to learn; there’s so much to be accomplished and it isn’t easy. Showing that you appreciate their hard work makes their job feel even more meaningful. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Think a travel cup of iced coffee, a small box of chocolates, a small desk trinket. It’s a show of appreciation.
  4. Contact the teacher now if your child has specific needs or there are things they should know.

Don’t assume the school has done your job for you. You know your child best and you are their best advocate. Don’t bombard a teacher, but take a few moments to send a well-composed email introducing yourself and your child, detailing your child’s strengths and needs. An ounce of prevention before day one can save a lot of agony later on.

  1. Stock up on school lunch and snack foods. Make your children part of this! Let them help you choose what they want to eat at school so you avoid daily battles or children coming home starving. Obviously, foods must follow school policy, but allow your children to make choices within that framework.
  2. Prepare school clothing or uniforms. Check the closets now. Do they have everything they need? What do you need to buy? What needs to be ironed? Once you are stocked and prepared, have them choose clothing or accessories for those first few days. Once they’ve chosen, hang all the items for that day together so there’s no scrambling on those first mornings.

Once preparation is done, relax; savor the last few days of summer and prepare for a magical start to the school year. Because, like all new beginnings, it is a time of new chances, a time to renew, refresh and start over.

May this be your most successful and happy school year yet!

By Sara Younger

 Sara Younger is the owner of Playland Parties and the director of Camp Summer Playland. She is dedicated to making childhood memorable, meaningful and fun.

 

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