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Back-to-School Breeze
Photo:Elena Schweitzer
The transition between summer and a new school year can be difficult for both children and parents. Even children who are eager to return to class must adjust to the greater levels of activity, structure, and even pressures associated with school life. Here are a few suggestions to help ease the transition for the entire family.

Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines. Try as we might to maintain a schedule during the summer, we often find ourselves allowing children to stay up later and sometimes skip meals. Plan to re-establish the school-year routine at least one week before school starts. Use this opportunity to explain to your child the benefits of a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast.

Make lunches the night before school. Older children should help or make their own lunches. Give them the option to buy lunch in if they prefer and finances permit. Be a part of your children's meal choices and make sure they have a well-rounded and balanced option for lunch.

Leave plenty of extra time.
Make sure your child has plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school. For very young children taking the bus, pin to their shirt or backpack an index card with pertinent information, including their teacher’s name and number, as well as your own daytime contact information.

Review your child’s school books. Make it a habit to be a part of your child’s learning experience. Talk about what your child will be learning during the year. Share your enthusiasm for the subjects and your confidence in your child’s ability to master this new grade level. Learning skills take time and repetition. Encourage your child to be patient, attentive, and positive.

Send a brief note to your child’s teacher. Let the teachers know that you are interested in getting regular feedback on how and what your child is doing in school. Find out how they like to communicate with parents. Convey a sincere desire to be a partner with your child’s teachers to enhance their learning experience.

Let your child know you care. If your child is anxious about school, try not to over react. Remain calm and positive. Send personal notes in your child’s lunch box or book bag.  Make sure your child knows you are there to talk to when situations are unclear or stressful.

With a little advance preparation and a few simple steps, your child’s new school year can be an amazing experience for the entire family!

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By Diana Hardin. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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