A: pple. Does your child eat enough fruit? Apples are high in flavonoids, which help keep you healthy and fights off infections. In medieval times, apples were consumed at the end of the meal to keep teeth clean, in lieu of a toothbrush!
B: ackpack. A child’s backpack weight should be no more than 10-20% of the child’s actual weight. A 50 lb 2nd grader’s pack should be 5-10lbs only.
D: illy-dally. Learn to avoid it with a structured morning and after-school routine. I find we can avoid it if I open the garage door and sit in the car–that really gets the kids moving. Also try setting timers. Use the one built-in with your microwave or oven…”you have twelve minutes to eat breakfast, four to pack your backpack…” Or make, “get ready stations.”
E: verything. Do you have everything ready to go? Make a check list and place it near the door your child uses for leaving the house each morning. Pictures or icons work great for the preschool/pre-literate set.
F: un. It’s important to have fun with school and after-school activites, but too many of them will leave little time for friends, family, or just goofing off–all things kids need to be well-rounded. We limit our “fun” activities to two per child. Adjust accordingly.
G: rumbling. Have a grumble-alert. When the gang gets a little too cranky, have a sign, motion, or look you use to alert your child(ren) that you’ve had enough. Develop a no-grumble policy at your house, kind of like, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”
H: ate. My 3rd grader has started using this word more than I care to hear. Do you really “hate” everything? No…you probably just dislike it. A lot. Put the kabash on the nasty-sounding word by helping your child reframe, “I know homework is a bummer, but it’s part of school. How can we make it so you can get through it?” HOME.
I: ce-cream. School and ice cream?! Sounds like a lovely combination. A tradition in my family of origin on the night before school was to head to the yummiest frozen custard stand and get a concrete. You may want to start a similar tradition.
J: ump for joy! School is cool. Let’s count ways…and stay active while doing it.
K: eep hands, feet, objects, and hurtful words to yourself.
L: unch. Do you have a pantry stocked with yummy, easy-to-pack options for school lunches? Grab some fixin’s now so you have ’em on hand when the big day rolls around. We have a lunch packing station at our house where we keep hand wipes, straws, napkins, food items, baggies, and containers…clear out a cabinet and make your own!
M: anners. Do your kids know the proper way to greet adults at school? Teach manners, like saying please and thank you for those who assist at parent drop-off, crossing guards, and the like.
N: otes. Do you have stack of Post-Its or other style notepad you can keep in an accessible location? I have some in the center console of my van, in the mud room, and in my purse for jotting out a quick note to the teacher at the last minute.
O: pen house. Are you going? If your school offers one, make sure you take the time to get to it. Valuable information on PTO, scouts, fundraisers, sports, and more are often relayed at these events, as well as classroom management, skills taught, and getting to know the teacher.
P: lan for success. Make a list of all of the things you hope your ___grader learns this year. Post it in an easy-to-see location at home. Solicit your child’s input.
Q: uiet. Ahhhh….peace and quiet. How will you spend your time now that your child is back in school? If you work full time, carve out quiet time just for you in the evenings. At our house, on the weekends, we still employ “quiet time” even though our kids are in 1st and 3rd grade. Make it an afternoon siesta.
R: eading. Always read. Make it fun. Let your kids see you reading as well. It’s a lifelong pursuit, not one just for school years. We read aloud to our kids nightly from a chapter book. Try it! It’s great family activity.
S: study. No doubt, school requires study time. Do you have a time and place for your child to study every day? Make it consistent.
T: elevsion. Limit how much your child(ren) watch. Experts agree no more than 2 hours of screen time per day per child. The includes computers, iPads, etc. Even background television noise is highly distractable to kiddos.
U: nderware. Does your child have new undies?! Okay, is that meant to be a joke? Kind of. Sort through old clothes to make sure things fit, they aren’t too stained/worn, or too inappropriate for school. Throw out things like hole-y socks and undies. Who needs that creating clutter in the drawers?!
V: Victory! Celebrate small successses! An “A” on a spelling test? Hooray! Pop it on the fridge.
W: rite on. Practice penmanship. Teachers love a child whose work she can actually read. Handwriting is a lifelong skills, so might as well make it neat and easy-to-read.
X: E(x)it. Does your child have a special way to show &/or say good-bye before hopping on the school bus, the family truckster, or the car pool? Maybe it’s time to come up with a fun exit routine. A high-five, hug, fist-bump…
Y: arn. Does your kid know how to spin a tale? If lying is a problem, nip it in the bud now by saying, “I need to hear a ‘real’ story.”
Z: ip to school with vigor in your step!
Good luck with all things school-related–till then…see you in September!