Before full-time motherhood, I was a school counselor in a middle school setting. At the beginning of every year, I’d make many of the same suggestions to parents about how to help their child start out on the right foot that school year. While every child and situation is unique, there are three tips that I always seemed to be giving out:
3 Easy Things You Can Do NOW to Help Your
Child Have a Great School Year:
1. Transition the Schedule
Getting your child into a school-friendly and consistent routine is so important. Establish a bedtime and stick to it in the weeks leading up to school. Agree on and set a morning routine and do a practice run for a whole week prior to school starting. That way, you can iron out any problems before they arise. Don’t wait to start a routine when school starts. It makes for a hectic beginning to the school year. When kids start out a school year feeling calm, confident and comfortable, they tend to perform much better and stay organized.
2. Create a “Command Center”
This can consist of a family calendar, place for reminders or it could just be an entry way area that is organized. For me, I have my children’s items color coded and organized. Each child has a hook for a bag and coat, a basket for extra items and then a space underneath for their shoes. That way, we know where everything is. It helps SO much with getting out of the house on time. A dry erase calendar/reminder board is color coded with each child having a different color marker. I also suggest an ‘in-out mailbox’ for items from the backpacks such as notices and things parents may need to sign.
3. Shop Early & Get Organized
We shop early for school supplies, clothing and backpacks. That way, we’re not rushing around close to the start of school. I save receipts for everything in case we have too much or the teacher requests something different. Help to get your child organized the way the teacher requests and guide them in the first few weeks of school. Make sure they get their own “system” down. One of the most consistent issues I addressed a school counselor was “organization.” Kids that start out organized with an easy, color-coded system of folders/notebooks tend to do well!
Having the right supplies and attitude for the start of school is so important. You can help kids who may not have the support or tools necessary have a great school year. This year, one of my favorite organizations, the Boys and Girls Club of America has teamed up with Disney to support today’s youth by launching an online school supply drive. By playing a pop-quiz style game, you will be able to help donate school supplies to your local BGCA Club. For every five correct answers, a donation of supplies will be made! What a great and EASY way to give back.
The BGCA website also offers educational information and content for parents as they prepare to send children back to school. You can find tips on subjects like goal-setting, homework hints, reading, middle/high school success, time management and getting ready for college.
You can also find information about how to become more involved with BGCA in your area. I worked with my local BGCA as a school counselor. They helped me to get at-risk students into a phenomenal after-school program where they received the support they lacked at home. Programs like these serve nearly 4 million kids, through membership and community outreach, in over 4,000 club facilities throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide. Visit the above mentioned sites to learn more and find out what you can do to help!