Welcome to Catherine Gruener’s Encouragement Parenting Tips for August! Each month, WU World Changer Catherine Gruener will share new tips that will encourage you to learn new, positive parenting techniques!
Encouragement Parenting Tip for August: Back to School Edition
I don’t know about you, but August and September seem to be two of the busiest months for me as a Mom. All of the organizing and preparing! For some of us, back to school has already begun, and others start after Labor Day. No matter where you are in the process, here are ten Back-to-School tips to help you seamlessly transition into the new school year.
Here are 10 Tips to Transition Back-to-School (without Losing Your Cool):
Get those Physicals:
If you want them to play sports, some schools have mandated physical and doctor forms, get them in at the start of the school year. Make sure you call your doctor and schedule those today!
Talk about the Upcoming School Year with Your Child:
Casually bring up the conversation of going back to school and encourage your child to express their hopes and concerns. Just listen at this stage.
Review Your Child’s School Website with them:
Bring along your calendar and some pens and paper. Check out the bell schedule and put the days off on the family calendar. Look at the extra-curricular activity area of the website. Discuss what after-school activities your child might want to do that year. Fill-out forms and pay the fees required for those activities.
Host A Casual Back-to-School Get-Together for Your Child and their School Friends:
Summer can send friends scattering all over and sometimes they can feel disconnected. Ask your child who they would like to have over before going back to school and host a gathering or coordinated play date at a local park, play area, or museum.
Begin Planning In-School Weekly Schedules with Your Child:
Engage them in the process. Have them create their own calendar. Elementary school children can color in blocks of times on paper calendars to be displayed in the kitchen, whereas older children can use their electronic calendars.
Start Your In-School Routine:
Routines take time to make and they take daily effort to become a habit. Some kids can create habits after two weeks, and others need an entire month. Start your sleep/wake/work daily routines before school begins. Discuss the wake-times, bed-times and study times with your children.
Create a routine, and then start practicing those routines at least a week before school starts. “Study time” before school begins, can be used to organize desks, supplies, and reading. The earlier you begin your back to school routine, the easier the transition will be.
Go through and organize school supplies with your child. Give them the shopping list to help find and purchase the supplies. Buy a plastic tub to organize the supplies so they can easily bring them to school.
Organize their Study Area:
Create a study and homework area for each child that is designated only for doing homework and studying. Support your child in creating spaces for books, pens, pencils, markers, paper, and an in-box for assignments and an out-box for work to bring back to school.
Read! Read! Read!
Hopefully, you have a reading schedule and have been reading every day over the summer. The statistics on kids who read versus kids who do not read is pretty eye-opening. Those who read do better in school. If you and your child have not developed a reading habit, it is never too late. Twenty-minutes minimum per day.
Rehearse and Talk-through any Back-to-School Worries:
I like to ask my clients and my kids, what needs to be problem solved before heading back to school. For younger children, we can rehearse what your child might say to his classmates about summer events or how to ask someone to sit with them at lunch.
We can also rehearse asking the teacher questions. For older children, we can ask leading questions. How do you feel about asking your new teacher questions about things you don’t understand? How does lunchtime work at your school? What does everyone do with their free time? Be ready with a few suggestions if you get “I don’t know,” or worried faces. I like to always have two suggestions ready so that the kids know that we can come up with a couple of ideas on how to problem solve any issues.
Happy back to school month! I hope you are able to transition with grace and keep your cool.
See you back here next month for my Encouragement Parenting Tips for September!
Do you have any back-to-school tips for parents that were not mentioned above? Please share them with us in the comments section below, and potentially help another parent keep their cool this new school year!
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Catherine Gruener, LCPC, NCC, DCC, PDTC. Catherine is a multi-certified and licensed clinical professional counselor, nationally and internationally known for her parent training programs. She is the owner of Gruener Consulting and the Chief Executive Officer of the Encouragement Parenting Division.