The back to school season is upon us. Whether you send your kids to public school, private school, or homeschool here are some great tips for helping kids and families off to a great start to the school year.
With the start of the school year right around the corner it’s time to get back into the swing of things.
Here are the top 6 things to help your family start the school year off right!
Back to School Tips for Families
#1 Establish a Routine
Sometimes I think that running a household is a juggling act. You need to balance keeping a house clean, cooking and cleaning up from meals, keeping laundry clean and in drawers, driving kids to activities, school, church activities, and spending fun quality time together as a family!
This year, instead of just surviving the year, I encourage you to plan ahead to thrive!
- Get everyone involved in cleaning [even the littlest kids can help out – see age appropriate chores here]
- Plan Meals ahead so you aren’t trying to figure out what’s for dinner or if you have all the ingredients [see FREE monthly family meal plan with printable grocery list]
- Have a family calendar where activities are listed [you can even color code by person] so that you don’t end up with conflicting events. Whatever is on the calendar first takes priority.
- Figure out what your day will look like [who wakes up kids, makes breakfast/lunches, check homework, etc.]
#2 Kids need Lots of Sleep
Kids need good, consistent sleep! Despite kids pushing for later bed times, kids need good quality sleep to not only grow but for their brains to function and learn properly. My absolute favorite book on sleep is Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child which addresses not only babies, but children through the teen years. The book shares studies showing how much sleep children really need at each age and how it correlates to their school work. I highly recommend getting ahold of this book!
- have a bed time routine (kids need to wind down to sleep effectively) – bath or shower, reading a book, family devotions on parents bed, singing a song before bed, etc.
- limit TV [and electronic devices] before bed as the lights stimulate the brain instead of allowing it to slow down
- consistent bed time – after reading through the book pick a realistic bed time for your kids and stick with it at least 6 days a week.
- get good sleep yourself, parents need 7-8 hours a night to function well, be in good emotional health, and keep healthy!
#3 Support their Education
No matter how you choose to educate your child, whether is through public school, private school, or homeschool, make sure you are supporting their education.
- Be involved by knowing what they are learning and how they are doing in school.
- Help them with difficult subjects.
- Provide ways to challenge them in things they show a natural talent and interest in.
- Go to meetings [with a happy heart] whether is is parent/teach conferences, a science fair, or a coop meeting. You need to make sure you not only go, but your child knows you are excited about going and hearing what is going on with them.
- Find ways you can contribute or get involved! You can bake cookies for a fundraiser, read to kids in the classroom, join a fieldtrip, etc.
#4 – Keep an Open Line of Communication
Your kids are starting a new school year. They will most likely make new friends, have no teachers, have new experiences, and have new challenges.
Make sure that you keep the lines of communication open so that you will not only know what is going on, but your children will feel comfortable going to you for help.
- Make family dinner [and breakfast] a high priority and make sure you talk during meal times
- take time to sit on your child’s bed at night as you are saying good night to give them a chance to tell you things one-on-one that may be weighing on them
- be involved in their life – as much as possible [without smothering] be involved in their sports, church activities, volunteer in the classroom, etc.
- be a parents! You are not their friend, you are their parent. They need you to set boundaries, guide them, and say unpopular things. They have lots of friends, but only one set of parents!
- Be their cheerleader – you can be a parent and set boundaries while at the same time encouraging and supporting your kids. They need to know that you are proud of them and believe in them. Now I’m not advocating empty praise, but encourage them on working hard, not giving up, trying hard, or succeeding after hard work. Make sure your kids know how proud you are of them and that you love them no matter what!
#5 Create Memories
Sometimes we can get so caught up in all the things that need to get done, we forget to actually enjoy our family! I know the house still needs to get cleaned, Susie needs to get to the dentist, and Bobby needs to get to soccer practice. Oh yeah, Sam needs 4 dozen cupcakes for a fundraiser!
Remember that no matter how slow the days go – the years go by quickly.
Your kids will be grown up and out on their own in the blink of an eye. Make sure you take the time to enjoy your kids, create memories, and build a relationship that will be the foundation for a lifetime!
- set aside a day as family day! Ever week on that day make sure you do something fun together as a family – pizza & games, movie night, bowling, etc.
- go on dates one-on-one with your kids! You need to establish a relationship with each of your kids. At least quarterly take your kids out to get hot cocoa, fly a kit, get an ice cream cone, do a class together, etc. Spend time talking, learning about your individual child, and building a strong relationship.
- plan fun, unique things to do together! For the most part spending time together as a family is the main ingredient, but you’ll want to try to plan something special at least once a month to keep family time fun, exciting, and memorable. Try themed family fun nights or seasonal fun [pumpkin patch, corn mazes, building a snowman, sledding, going to a pool or amusement park, picnic at a park, hike at state park, etc.],
- take an annual vacation – even if it is just camping over the weekend, do something to get away and spend quality, uninterrupted time together!
Don’t forget to take back-to-school pictures of your kids ready for school year. These are precious memories you can’t recreate!
#6 Your Kid is #1
First, make sure you kid knows they are #1 in your book. Make sure you are saying uplifting things about who they are, their interests, and what they look like. Before they are ready to face the world they need to know you are in their corner and have their back!
Second, prepare them to feel like a winner in the world. Now I’m not advocating buying everything the cool kids have or giving them everything they say the need. But try to remember what it was like to be their age. Maybe you can get them one brand name t-shirt or spend the extra dollar to buy the cool crayons. Make sure they have something “good” to eat and that they aren’t getting the lunch that is traded or [gasp] thrown away.
Note: Even homeschool kids like to feel like they belong with their neighborhood or church friends!
These simple gestures will go a long way to show your kid you “get it” and to make them feel like #1 with their friends.