Thursday, August 19, 2010

ABCs of Back To School

A Back to School routine is always something I look forward as it follows the days of summer which usually have no schedule or routine.  Of course I love the lazy days of summer fun, but there is a time when my family needs a little more organization and structure.   I found a few tips to help us get into the swing of a new school year:

Avoid Overcommitment
September is an incredibly busy time. This is usually the month that other commitments in our lives, like sports or church activities, begin in addition to the start of a new school year. To help everyone in your family get the rest they need during this busy month, keep extra-curricular activities to a minimum whenever possible.
Instead, help your kids concentrate on the routines they need to establish for a successful school year, including finishing homework, completing chores, and regular times for going to bed and getting up in the morning. The focus on these routines will help keep your kids from feeling overstressed.

Be Consistent
Since the sun doesn’t truly go down until fairly late in the summer evenings, it’s tempting to not enforce a regular bedtime with your kids until school actually starts. Trust me, this is good for no one.
Begin a regular bedtime routine two weeks before school starts, and emphasize daily habits like brushing teeth, bathing, and reading stories. Other helpful routines to put into practice during this time include
• Getting up, getting dressed and eating breakfast
• Chores around the house
• Practice work in activity books
Building these habits before school starts will definitely help everyone as the days get busier.

Maintaining a calendar is important, especially if you have a busy husband and more than one child in school.
Choose a large calendar that takes up a good part of a kitchen wall. Hang it in an accessible place, and take time now to mark down important school dates. School calendars can usually be found on your school district’s website.
Important dates to note on your calendar include (but are not limited to) Conferences, Christmas Break, Spring Break and Teacher Work Days. Once these are written down, planning for the rest of the year can begin. Write down everything you can think of while the calendar’s in front of you. Because my husband is a high school band director, we add football and basketball games that require his presence with the pep band. If your children play sports or are interested in camps, mark the calendar with a reminder to register them when it’s time.

Transitioning into a new school year doesn’t have to be stressful. Instead, it can be as easy as A-B-C!
Kelly Wilson is an expert on frugal living and an editor for Teaching Resource Center, supplying classrooms with Teaching Materials and Free Teachers’ Resources for over 25 years.

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