7 Tips to Ensure Your Child’s New School Year Is Successful

It’s a new school year, and you want your child to make the most of it! To that end, we’ve compiled a few tips to make the year go smoothly for your kids—and your entire family.

1. Aim for Early Arrival

A surefire way to start off the school day on the wrong foot is to be rushing or late. Regardless of how old your children are, school-day mornings are probably at least a bit chaotic. Padding your schedule by just 15 minutes can make a tremendous difference in everyone’s anxiety level!

Whether your child needs to be at the bus stop or you drop them off at a certain time, proceed as if that time is actually 15 minutes earlier. (If you normally wake your child at 6:45 AM so you can get them to school by the first bell at 7:50 AM, wake them up at 6:30 AM, and proceed as if the first bell actually rings at 7:35 AM. (You’ll probably arrive at precisely the right time!)

2. Feed Their Hunger for Success

Food is fuel! Without a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your kids will not be running on all cylinders. Set them up for success by planning ahead. Hard-boiled eggs, bananas, and yogurt make nutritious grab-and-go breakfasts. Healthy lunches (that will be eaten) should include items you and your kids agree on. A bit of meal prep on the weekends helps you avoid falling into the drive-through dinner trap.

3. Don’t Weigh Them Down

Make sure your child’s backpack isn’t too heavy. It shouldn’t weigh more than 20 percent of his or her body weight (otherwise it can cause muscle pain and bad posture.) If your child must carry a heavy load, consider a rolling backpack.

4. Establish Cell Phone Guidelines

If your kids have their own cell phones, you may have relaxed the rules over the summer and let them text, play games, and take selfies as often as they want. If you haven’t already, now is the time to set limits. Depending on your kids’ ages and schedules, establish “phone-free” times so they’ll focus on their homework and go to bed at a reasonable hour. Some studies conclude that smartphones may be causing problems for today’s youth, so reducing their smartphone use may help.

5. Create a Homework Zone

Few kids look forward to doing their homework. You can make the prospect more tolerable by setting up an inspiring workspace for them. All you need is a quiet corner or place. Enlist your kids’ help decorating the space with artwork; a cozy bean bag, floor pillow, or hammock for reading; a small table or desk; a lamp; a basket of school supplies; and even healthy snacks. They may begin to look forward to homework!

6. Get to Know the Teachers

Your child’s teacher is a huge factor in how successful the school year will be. Get to know your kids’ teachers, check in with them regularly to see how things are going, and offer your assistance. Teachers are stretched thin, with limited finances and time. Ask if you can help by making photocopies, shelving library books, reading books to the class, replenishing school supplies, volunteering during recess, etc.

7. Implement a Five-Minute Chat

Especially if your kids are older and busy with extracurricular activities or an after-school job, build in time for a quick one-to-one check-in every day. Commit to spending at least five uninterrupted minutes with each child every day (before bedtime, perhaps). Simply ask them to share a few highlights (or low-lights) of their day. Focus on their words and on their demeanor and body language. If your child is having a problem, you’ll be more likely to identify it and help them resolve it before it becomes more serious.

The early weeks set the tone for the entire school year. Before the novelty of back-to-school fades, consider these tips as a starting point for making changes that will have a domino effect of positivity and success! And if you’re ready to make more positive changes for in your child’s education, consider online learning. Visit K12.com to learn more and find a school in your state.

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