Here’s a checklist for parents to use in the run-up to the new school year that can help make your home less “back-to-stress” and more “back-to-school.”
Academics: Encourage your children to do their best, learn all they can, and do the best they can do. Intervene when they do not, find help for them when they struggle, and affirm them when they live up to their academic potential.
Anxiety: It’s normal for students to feel stress over the upcoming school year. Make your home a calming, secure environment and reassure kids that their feelings are normal.
Calendar: Create a digital family calendar synchs to each family member’s electronic devices to help everyone keep up-to-date on what’s going on and to help avoid scheduling conflicts.
Connect: Establish connections with school faculty, administrators, and staff who can help answer your questions and provide direction for school-related issues as they arise.
Diet: Establish expectations for a healthy diet for your student. Think through breakfast and lunch preparation responsibilities.
Family Dinners: Set a schedule for regular family dinnertimes during the school year. This will help maintain family connections and allows for staying current with what’s going on in each other’s lives.
Homework: Establish expectations for your child regarding daily homework. Create a reasonable homework routine that allows for completion of daily assignments.
Physical Activity: Plan now to ensure your child has opportunities for regular, adequate exercise.
Scheduling: Remember the adage, no one can do everything. Help your kids set reasonable activity levels for participation in sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities to reduce the risks of over-commitment, stress, and burnout.
Set a Positive Tone: Start talking positively about the new school year: classes, friends, and activities. Create positive anticipation.
Shopping: Get an early start by taking advantage of back-to-school sales now and to avoid the stress of shopping at the last minute.
Sleep: Adjust bed and wake-up times to create healthy school-year sleep patterns before the first day of school to ensure that your child has the energy and focus he or she needs on opening day.
Transportation: If traveling by school or public bus, be sure to confirm bus stops and schedules. If carpooling, remember to connect and confirm schedules with the other parents involved.