Welcomed by some and rued by others, back-to-school season is here again, and parents province-wide are getting their ducks in order to send their own little ducks back to the classroom.
Here are a few tips to help make the transition a little smoother.
Start your school schedule early
Summer sunshine brings bright nights and late bedtimes for many youngsters. Start training your kids back into an “early to bed, early to rise” schedule at least a week before school starts. It’s recommended that elementary students get 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, so they should typically go to bed between 7 and 9 p.m. to be ready to get up in time for school. And, don’t expect they’ll fall asleep the second they hit the pillow. Account for some time for the kids to unwind before they call it a night.
Do the kids really need a new outfit for each day of the week? Buy something nice to get them out the door with confidence, and otherwise only pull out the cash for what they really need. And, wait until the school supply list comes home before loading up on supplies. It will save money (oops, she didn’t really need that $8 stapler), and save you an extra trip to the store when you realize she really did need five Duo-Tangs not three.
As much as TV is a useful tool for harnessing the kids when you’re trying to get dinner prepared, it’s also a time trap. Try tossing out the TV and limiting screen time and see how much more time the kids have for play, homework, chores, and just participating with the family. Screen time rewards for a job well done become all the sweeter when they’ve earned them.
Ease them into fall
September is not only a shift back to school, but the start-up for all those wonderful extra-curricular activities. Some parents advocate just focussing on the return to school for September, and putting off the swimming lessons, dance, piano and other activities until October. That way the kids can regroup with their school schedule first and figure out the timing for the extra stuff later.
You’re going to have a full year of back-and-forthing ahead of you with your child’s teacher, so find out early how they like to communicate. For some it’s a quick chat at drop-off, but for others that’s a no-no. Knowing if e-mail, the agenda, a phone call or a visit is the way to go is best discovered early on.
Each family has different tricks for back to school success. Take a look at the B.C. Ministry of Education website for some more ideas, and share your tips with SPIN: facebook.com/SPIN.NewsMag