The new school year is here. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of rushing around. Mornings are groggy and busy. Evenings are filled with extracurriculars and preparing for the next day.
It may seem like the to-do list will never end.
Among the flurry of activities, the start of a new school year can dredge up a lot of emotion.
Excitement, fear, and a sense of feeling overwhelmed can permeate this time for parents and kids alike.
So how can parents make sure that their children are excited and ready for the new school year, and not overwhelmed or bored?
With a few simple adaptations, you can help your kids feel totally at ease over the start of the new school year. These don’t have to be world-changing shifts either.
Dedicate a Study Space
Kids, especially the really young ones, are great at getting distracted. Homework takes forever, ending in frustration and a feeling of overwhelm.
An area specifically designated for study time will help keep your kid focused and on task, which will, in turn, yield better results in school and foster a lifelong love of learning.
Of course, every kid is different, and so no two study spaces will look alike. Some kids will do their best work in their bedrooms, away from everyone else. Others need to work in the home office or at the kitchen table, where someone is nearby to help them when a question arises. Who knows? Your child might have their most inspired moments while sprawled out on the living room floor, his homework spread out until it covers every inch of the rug!
The important thing is that your child’s study space works for them. Though there are a few essentials every child will need; any study area should be quiet, well-lit, and free from distractions like the TV or personal electronics.
Cut Out Gadgets and Promote Outdoor Play
Regarding TV after school, it is important that your child’s time in front of the screen stays limited during the school year. Along with all the health benefits to keeping the kids away from the television- studies have shown that children who spend more than 4 hours a day watching TV are more likely to be overweight.
Restricting TV( and other gadgets) time also means more time to focus on other creative pursuits.
For the complete recommendations on “screen time” for children, click here!
Get in enough sleep
Your child’s brain and body are hard at work during a school day. The brain is busy creating neural pathways to retain all the knowledge it is gaining, and between playing sports and playing with friends, the kid’s muscles will be tired by day’s end. To help them develop, they need sleep and lots of it.
Eat Dinner Together
Family dinners give you and your kids time to talk about day to day experiences, anxieties, social pressure, or anything else on their minds. What if they’re scared, or overwhelmed? What if they’re facing a bully, or a first crush, or something else they might not fully understand?
A regularly scheduled family meal gives everyone the chance to talk about what they are going through so they can relax and decompress. This is not only great for your child, but it can benefit you too! Don’t miss out on the many benefits that a simple meal with your family can hold.
Discuss Extracurriculars With Your Kids
Extracurricular activities are a great way for children to explore their interests and find what they’re good at.For parents on a budget, the cost of a lesson or sports season can play a factor, too. The fear of making the wrong decision, and imagining the tantrums that will follow if your child hates their class, can make many parents forgo extracurriculars altogether.
Talk with your child about what he or she is interested in trying, and see which activity makes their little eyes light up. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
Get Ready Each Night
Mornings are, to put it bluntly, the worst. They’re too early, they’re too short, and there is too much to do. But here’s a little tip: it doesn’t have to be that way! Instead of spending the precious few hours you have each morning rushing around and trying to make breakfast, get the kids dressed and packed, and get yourself ready for work, alleviate the pressure by doing some work the night before.
Before your kid is tucked into bed, have them pick out their outfit for the next day and lay it out on the dresser. Make sure the backpack is ready to go, and that your child’s lunch box is packed and in the fridge. You can even make an overnight breakfast that will save you more time in the morning. With all these basic morning tasks already taken care of, your morning can flow much more smoothly – which makes everyone’s lives easier.
There is also a feeling of anticipation you create with this little routine. For example, if you child picks out his favorite shirt to wear the next day, he’ll wake up excited to get dressed and rock that shirt!
Little things like this will help you child grow more excited about their school days!
Andrew Hoffman is a freelance writer and journalist from Los Angeles, CA, who has written on behalf of a range of clients including the Livestrong Network and Demand Media. In addition to writing on various topics of interest, he enjoys physical fitness, surfing in Santa Monica and collecting classic, first-edition novels. Get in touch with Andrew, here.