I also get that back to school time can be quite stressful.
Your family schedule is changing, you’re trying to establish routines again and get all your kids’ school supplies in order.
You may have anxiety about what your student’s teacher will be like, how much homework will be required, and how you can best navigate supporting their education & establishing healthy routines.
Teachers can answer questions & offer tips, but we usually don’t come right out & bluntly say all that we think you should be doing with your kids. (I know, I’m so rude, “shoulding” all over you!)
I’ll go ahead and tell you what I really think a healthy household should look like, from an educator’s perspective, if you have young ones in school.
Keep in mind that I don’t have any children of my own, so this is all based on theory and my professional opinion and I have the utmost compassion & respect for what it takes to be a parent, so, if you like my advice, take it! If not, chuck it!
I also realize that establishing these routines can be tricky- but know that children thrive with clear expectations & boundaries. Once you make it through the growing pains of enforcing new rules & routines, watch as your kids thrive!
A Teacher’s Top 10 Tips for Back to School Time and Routines to Make Your Life Easier:
1. Talk with your kids about what’s coming up- for example: “It’s the first day of school tomorrow so we’re going to bed earlier tonight. I’m going to give you a bath & then we’ll have a bedtime story & then it will be bedtime. In the morning, you’ll start your first day of school and we’ll get up early & head out. How do you feel about starting school?”
Talking with our kids about what they can expect during the week, over weekends, or prepping them for big vacations or changes can help relieve unnecessary anxiety. Asking our young ones how they feel is a deeply nurturing & loving act, showing that we care about their emotional inner-world.
Furthermore, when we let kids know what they can expect and prepare them for upcoming events, we provide a level of emotional safety.
2. Have a “School Station” or organization center at home- have a place where the backpack always goes, where homework gets placed, where forms you need to sign will live, etc.
This routine will make life easier for everyone involved! Include a “kid-friendly” calendar with important dates so they can see what’s coming & let them add to the calendar when they’re able. This helps set up positive habits & alleviates anxiety.
Make it a fun activity & include the whole family- decorate your “Homework” box with stickers or art work.
3. Have a bed-time/wake-up routine- We assume that parents know this one, but, I’m always shocked by the number of students who don’t have a set bedtime.
It’s super important for young ones to go through a bedtime routine & to get enough sleep! This gets them winding down & allows them space to prepare for sleep time.
Going to bed can be a triggering event for kids & adults alike, as it can bring up feelings of fear & loneliness.
Having a regular routine that includes a bath, a story & a tuck-in from a parent is very soothing to a child and creates a life-time of healthy feelings & habits about what it means to take care of ourselves.
Additionally, waking up and going to bed at the same time will lead to easier mornings & better sleep patterns.
4. Breakfast every day – Research shows that kid’s brains can’t function well without a proper breakfast, which includes a healthy fat & protein. Avocados, eggs, coconut oil, nuts, smoothies, these are all great ways to serve-up sustaining breakfasts.
5. Have kids pack their own lunches & snacks- whenever they are able, allow kids to take on this responsibility- they can do it & it helps them develop important skills & sets them up for future success, and, best of all, it’s one less thing you have to do!
If you aren’t sure about your child’s developmental level, get this great book, Yardsticks, by Chip Wood.
6. Designate homework time & space– having a place that is designated as a quiet homework spot, or a cozy reading nook, is uber important if we want work to get done!
Do not have your kids start homework right after school, give them a break, they’ve been working hard all day!
Let them get out and play while it’s light, have a snack, etc. then have them work for no more than 30 minutes per night.
A child of elementary age should not be spending more than 30 minutes a night on homework, ideally, but definitely no more than an hour for an intermediate student (3rd-5th grades).
7. Limit TV watching or video games-this is so important to a student’s ability & willingness to complete homework, practice reading, and being able to sleep well. If they are watching violent games until it’s time to go to bed, they will not likely be ready for bed!
Shut off games or TV at least an hour before bedtime & limit the amount of time they spend engaging in either activity. (This is a great idea for adults, too!)
8. Get outside & play games as a family– If possible, get in the yard & toss around a football, have your kids teach you their favorite playground game, play four-square, hide & seek, or hop-scotch.
Playing together alleviates stress & is fun! You’ll all feel better!
9. Remember that you have the power! Most teachers want to work with you & contribute to your scholar’s success. Speak up for your kid when needed. Know that a note or a call to the teacher can go a long way.
If your kid is having a hard time with homework, write the teacher a note & let it be.
Don’t stress everyone in the home over homework, it’s the small stuff, truly!
Everything can be worked out it communication & most teachers are really understanding and flexible and will make accommodations.
Alternatively, know when it is time to back away from being an advocate & let your kid take the lead!
If they’re confused or have questions about homework, get them an email account & have them email the teacher, directly.
Your kid is the one in school all day with the teacher, learning the lessons, so your student, by 4th or 5th grade, can handle emailing the teacher with questions.
This eliminates the middle-man, for once you’re involved, it becomes a “he said she said” ordeal– it’s not your homework & you’re not the one in class all day, so let your child figure it out!
You don’t want to be an over-protective “helicopter” parent!
10. Change/wash clothes & take night-time showers– this one is from a psychic/energy work perspective.
Your kids are picking up a lot of energy from a lot of other people during the day at school. Whenever possible, have them put their clothes immediately in the hamper, shower & change into evening clothes or into pajamas.
Washing off the day will feel reinvigorating to your child after a long day of being immersed in other people’s energy fields. (Try this yourself & see how you feel- it’s true for adults too! Plus, don’t you sleep better after a shower?)
I hope these tips from your friendly neighborhood teacher & resident psychic are helpful!
Bless you and yours on your adventures!
Leave me a comment & let me know if you have any other questions about school stuff & teachers, I’d love to hear your thoughts & offer my perspective!
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