Preparing Your Children for Back to School

The end of summer and beginning of back to school is never unexpected, but can often catch parents and kids off guard. It’s almost a surprise when the end of summer rolls around, and you realize you have done very little to prepare for this important time of year. While it is true that kids may never want their wonderful summertime adventures to end, that does not mean back to school can’t be an exciting time for children as well! It is up to you, the parent, to help your child realize that their education is very important, and can also be extremely exciting

Nothing takes away the flow and excitement of back to school time like being unprepared. Most parents will take steps to prepare their kids by purchasing backpacks, lunch boxes, pencils, and new shoes, but what some may not realize is that there are other things parents can do in addition to ensure their kids and both ready and excited for back to school. We’ve put together a small list of a few things you can do to get your child ready for the first day!

Get Back in the Routine – Nothing will de-motivate a kid faster than surprising them on that first day of school by waking them up extra early, rushing their breakfast, and reminding them to change out of their PJ’s after they eat. It is very important to re-establish these morning routines a week or two before school gets back in session. And it isn’t just morning routines either. Get your child acquainted with scheduled meal and activity times as well. If your child can get used to having lunch at the scheduled time and playing outside when recess would normally fall, they will have a much easier time getting acclimated to their new school schedule.

Plan Healthy Meals – Healthy eating has innumerable benefits, and it is always best to start as young as possible. While most schools will provide a lunch plan for the kids, there may not always be a healthy option. And even if there is, there is no way to make sure your child is choosing the healthy option! It can be good to go with your child to the lunch room and help familiarize them with the cafeteria. While you are there, get nutrition facts on the food, if available. If all else fails, pack a lunch for your kid! But don’t just put together the same random collection of food every day; get your child involved and have fun with it! They are far more likely to eat healthy when they feel like they have helped choose their lunch, rather than feel like they are being forced to eat what you’ve given them. Make sure to include all the necessary major nutrients (protein, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, etc…), and switch it up every day. You wouldn’t want to eat the same food every day, and your kid is no exception!

Get FUN Back to School Supplies – Sometimes, new pencils and backpacks are all it takes to motivate your child to want to go back to school. Of course there are going to be necessary generic supplies you have to get, but let your kid help you pick them out, and if your budget allows for it, get them an additional fun item they pick out that can be educational. For example, if they are into art, perhaps you can get them an easel. If they are into science, look into different science projects. The options are endless, but small extra things like that can be all it takes to motivate your child to actually WANT to learn!

Ensure Your Child’s Health – We have already talked about healthy eating and how important it is to maintaining your child’s health. Another very valuable tip to keeping your child healthy is making sure their immunizations are up to date. Many schools will not even allow children to enroll unless they are up to date on all of their shots. Keep in mind, even if your child is immunized, that does not necessarily mean some of the other children won’t be carrying disease-ridden germs. Teach your child the importance of washing hands and covering their mouth when they cough and sneeze. Also ensure that they are getting a healthy 8-10 hours of sleep every night; this will keep their immune systems in top shape to help protect them from disease.

Make Time Every Night for Your Children – As your child is growing older and having new life experiences, they will naturally begin to become more independent. This, of course, is a very good thing. However, you always want to make sure that you are spending valuable time with your kids every single day. It’s inevitable that they will be drawing influence from many other avenues in life, from teachers, to other kids, to extended family, and even to the media. Above all, you want to ensure that the main source your kid is drawing influence from is YOU! Make sure to always have plans to spend dinner together, and talk to your kid about their day at school. Organize a set, un-changing homework time and location in the home, where you and your child can work on their school work together. Taking steps like these will build stronger relationships with your kids, and help to make sure your kids are being raised by you, and not someone else.

The beginning of the school year can be an exciting time of year for your child if you encourage it. Following these steps will absolutely put your child on the path of success towards a wonderful school year!

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