This time of year usually sends me in a scramble to finish up everything on our summer bucket list. Back-to-school stuff usually gets the last-minute treatment. We usually buy notebooks and pencils two days before school starts. We stay up too late at night and wake up too late in the morning, thinking we’ll get the hang of it after the kids are in school.
This year though, I want my kids to get a head start for the school year. I think they deserve that. I think all kids do. This year I’m trying out seven activities that will help them have a great school year. Get your crew on board too and make sure your kid has the best school year ever!
How to Have the Best School Year Ever
1. Get in some one-on-one time before school starts.
A favorite back-to-school tradition in our house is having a special one-on-one date with each child. (If dating your kids is a new concept, read this post with tons of fun ideas!) Mom or dad (or both) will take each kid to lunch, do their back-to-school shopping, and have a good talk about everything they’re excited and nervous for in terms of the upcoming school year.
Having a special one-on-one time with each child before school starts is a great way to connect before the craziness sets in. It lets them know you love them. A back-to-school date sets the tone for open relationships that can propel you through the school year.
2. Read these books.
There are some really great books out there that can help your child have the best school year ever.
For grade school aged kids, try Enemy Pie, a story about a little boy with the perfect recipe for turning your best enemy into your best friend. It’s a good fun read about making new friends this school year. You can also read Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun, a book about being courageous and being who you are. My Mouth is a Volcano, a great little story that teaches kids not to interrupt. One, is a super simple, creative, to the point book about bullying that is perfect for any age – a must read. and there are many other great back-to-school books out there you can read together too.
For older kids, a must-read in my book is Sean Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. It is a guide to everything teens will face in their middle and high school years like peers, parents, relationships, and their futures.
3. Start a normal bedtime routine one week before school starts.
I know how tempting it is to let the good times roll right up until that first bell rings. That being said, starting the school year bedtime routine a week early will be a HUGE help in the long run.
One week before school starts, get in the rhythm of going to bed early (school night early) and waking up early (school day early).
4. Have a family chat.
Every year before school started, my parents sat down with us kids and had a pow-wow about our goals for the upcoming school year (I wanted to make the varsity basketball team and my brother promised my mom he’d actually finish reading a book).
It was a great time to focus our attention on goal-setting and to vocalize our goals so that everyone in our family knew what they were. At your back-to-school chat, you could talk about stranger-danger, bullying, being a good friend, respecting teachers, and anything else you feel is relevant for your family.
5. Meet their teachers.
Sure they’ll get to know them during the school year, but if you make a special effort to meet with your child’s teacher(s) before school starts, you’ll lay the groundwork for security, trust, and communication.
Head to the school with your kids a few days early when teachers are setting up classrooms and pop in for a brief visit. You can introduce yourselves, let the teacher know a little bit about your child, talk about any concerns up front, and even help him or her set up the classroom. Believe me, this will go a long way in a teacher’s book!
6. Have a homework plan of attack NOW.
To be honest, I dread homework as much as my kids do. It is a huge time-consumer and if you don’t have a plan of attack for it, the mounds of homework can quickly overwhelm you. Set up a system right now before school starts of doing homework. Designate time slots for multiple children, create a homework corner—a quiet place in your home where kids can focus, or even consider hiring a tutor to help with the workload.
7. Meet their friends early and often.
One of a parent’s biggest worries about having kids in school is the types of friends they will have.
From the very beginning, make sure you know your kids’ friends. Meet new friends by inviting them to your home—make a party out of it! This will help you meet their parents as well. Volunteer in your child’s classroom often so that you can see firsthand how your child interacts with his or her peers.
As questions and talk about their friends often so that you can get some good insights into that part of your child’s life you just don’t get to see much of.
The bottom line in making sure your kids have the best school year ever is this: be involved.
Wishing you and your family the best school year ever! Oh, and if you have any brilliant ideas on how to tackle the homework…I’m all ears.