September always feels a bit like the “New Year” to me. It’s the natural turning of a page, the start of a new season and a new school year. My daughters are entering grades 10 and 11. Seems like just yesterday I was walking them to kindergarten, and now they are talking about course selections in preparation for university.
Here are a few tips to help you get back into the swing of the school year smoothly:
- Meet The Teacher - The first few weeks of school are crazy, but before October is over, you should set up a “meet and greet” appointment with your child’s teacher. Don’t ambush them at the door. Schedule this visit. Bring your child with you. Have them show you their room and their cubby or desk. Meet their teacher and have a nice friendly cup of tea. Its just about being social, putting names to faces and establishing a positive relationship. You child needs to feel a warmth between home and school. Set the tone of collaboration and enthusiasm in this meeting. If you have to discuss some concerns that’s fine too. Just keep it positive.
- The Back Pack – Your child is learning to be responsible for their school work. They need to establish some rituals about their back pack and its contents. The more you manage their back pack, the less they will feel its their job to do. Instead, train them to carry it (always) and have a set location it should go when they get home. A basket or hook in the front hall is perfect. Next, ask: “Have you got any papers for me?” Don’t dig in their bag! Instead, have them search for the papers the school sent home each and every day they drop their bag in the basket. If they learn to do this little ritual each day it will become automatic. I suggest you have an “inbox” somewhere in the kitchen for your child to put their permission forms and other school-to-parent correspondence in. If you really want to help the school, get those papers signed and back ASAP. The teachers will love you!
- Lunches – Work together with your child to create a list of the 5 lunches a week your child likes. If they stop liking something during the school year they can remove it from the list, but they must replace it with something else so the total stands at 5! Depending on their age, they can help prepare the lunch with you, or tackle it on their own.
- Punctuality – Help your child get out the door or to the bus on time by using a timer to indicate when it’s 5 minutes until they need to leave the house. When it’s time to leave, you should say, “It’s time for school, I’ll be waiting for you outside and then leave the house yourself.” Wait in the car or on the driveway. They may be late a few (dozen) times in the early weeks and months, but they will learn you are not going to fight or force and eventually will become more mindful of the time.
Remember that it takes pretty much till December until the entire family gets into the flow of the new school year so build lots of room in your schedules to avoid being stressed. It’s probably not a good time to under take a kitchen renovation for example.
If you have ideas that smooth the rough spots, post them in the comment section below. And most of all, ENJOY! These years go quickly.