Whether we like it or not, the new school year is quickly approaching. Before long, our worlds will become a flash of paper, pencils, and backpacks. We'll be racing to the bus stop, zipping our kids to and from activities, and plowing through homework.
Life moves quickly during the school year. It's busy. It doesn't slow down, and there's no rest for the weary.
So before we start this wild ride, it's worth mentioning that as families, we really should set the stage for school year success from day one. And we can.
Here are three superstar tips for starting the school year off right. Three tips that will hopefully guide your family into good habits which will lead to strong students and happy parents.
1. Find a place for everything. From the time kids leave the house in the morning until the time they rest their tired little heads on their pillows, they need to know where every single shoe, lunchbox, backpack, and school paper belongs. Find and clearly label "homes" for each item, and reinforce from the outset that each child is responsible for putting everything in its place.
If, when kids come home, they place their coats, hats, and shoes in the same place and hang their backpacks on the very same hook and place their lunchboxes on the very same countertop, the likelihood of anything being lost lessens. And goodness knows that not being able to locate one of these items on a school morning means chaos. Especially if you're running late (which we usually are).
MORE: 4 Steps to an Organized Backpack
2. Form school-happy habits. From day one, start a routine that is both conducive to an "early to bed and early to rise" life and manageable for your family.
• Packing backpacks and lunches the night before a school day.
• Setting clothes out in the evening for the next day.
• Having children get dressed for the day before they eat breakfast so that they're ready to roll as soon as they eat.
• Doing homework together, as a family, at the same time each day.
• Starting homework right after school or right after dinner so there's enough time to complete it.
• Looking at the next day's schedule while everyone's together at dinner or bedtime.
• Creating a "head to bed" time that will be reinforced every night by every family member. This will initiate the bedtime routine and move everyone to shower, get pj's on, read, and hit the sack.
3. Communicate early and often. And with every involved party: your kids, the teachers, administrators, specialists, friends, parents -- you name it. Talk to them. And be willing to listen to them as well.
Write each teacher a quick email early in the first month of school introducing yourself and sharing your excitement for the new year. Ask how you can help support him or her from home or in the classroom. If your schedule allows, find time to volunteer in the classroom as often as possible.
MORE: Talking to Teachers: What Every Parent Needs to Know
Connect with other parents. Talk to them about how they think the year is going, and make an effort to maintain a positive outlook. Set up play dates for your child with his or her friends and, before or after these play dates, chat with parents.
Talk to your children each and every day. Keep in mind, talking to them is listening to them, too. Ask questions but be willing to hear the answers.
School is such an important time for children—and a great time for families to support each other. Let's make this school year a success from the beginning!
What is your secret to a successful school year? We'd love to hear it! Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!