Back to School

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Summer is filled with travel, gatherings, and…well, FUN! For kids, summer is basically that part of the year where they have no homework, no bedtime and no tests; this means a lot to them. Remember when you were a child and towards the end of the summer season, you know you have to go back to school soon…how did that make you feel? I know I hated it! So to make it easier on our little ones and in return on us as parents, take a look at these suggestions that might help you get through this easier and smoother.
            1. Setting the Clock
Going to bed on time can be a very hard and annoying task for children especially if they don’t follow a bedtime routine in summer. I know some kids in our society don’t even have a bedtime during school year, and if your child is one of them, you’d better start now. 
Setting a bedtime not only makes it easier to wake-up in the morning on time, it also allows the body to rejuvenate and repair the brain cells. Try to put your kids to bed everyday at the same time. Start a few weeks before school begins to give them time to adjust and to be part of their system instead of forcing it upon them. Every week push the bedtime 15 min earlier until your desired time. Generally, a good time for children to go to bed is around 7 or 8 p.m. depending on the time they wake up. Consult your pediatrician on how many hours you child needs to sleep depending on his/her age.
Create a bedtime routine convenient enough to follow every night and stick to it. You can start an hour before bedtime by giving your kids a bath, having dinner, and then reading a story together. This might seem like a lot of work especially if you are traveling in the summer or staying at your in-laws’ or friends’ house. Try to get help from people around you. Maybe grandpa can read a bedtime story once, and dad help with the bath. It will be more fun for the kids and help them accept this new routine. It is also a better way for you to start getting used to it!
2. Catching-up on Skills
If you ever wondered whether your kids would forget some of the skills they learned in school during the summer vacation, the answer is yes they might. Kids usually like to demonstrate their acquired skills and like to use and experiment with them. Practice makes perfect and that is a well established fact. Help you children practice their skills during the summer by offering them a wide range of activities to do.
Some schools would provide a summer workbook. If your child doesn’t have one from school, you can make one together or simply buy it. When you’re staying home, or on a plane, or cooking and want to keep you kids busy in the kitchen, you can always find an opportunity to allow your child to activate those brain cells. Apart from standard worksheets, there are plenty of everyday activities your kids can do to practice what they learned in school. Cooking is a great way to practice math and science. All those measuring cups, spoons, ingredients, textures, smells, and different temperatures used to cook are tools to help your child practice his/her concepts. Keeping a journal for summer is also another way of practicing writing and reading skills, hence, vocabulary and grammar. Reading a bedtime story and taking turn you and your child to be the narrator is also a fun way to review those letters and phonics. The bottom line is, whatever activity you engage your children in, always try to allow them to show you what they know; let them show-it off. This will help them understand that we go to school to learn skills that we use and apply in everyday life, and that these make our life easier and more fun. When your child is old enough to relate to this piece of information, it will be much easier for him to go back to school without feeling frustrated.
  1. Shopping For Supplies
Nothing beats a bag full of goodies! It is an absolute pleasure for children (and moms too…though I doubt that the dads appreciate it) to go ahead and just fill the shopping carts with supplies. Colored pencils, a new eraser, a cool pen, and high tech sharpener, everyday school supplies become more and more attractive for the little students. Shopping in itself is a delight, so maybe that is the kids’ favorite part of going back to school. Take your kids to buy their school bags, shoes, uniforms and supplies and help them choose them. Explore with them the different prices, and options in a bag or a pencil case while keeping them excited to use them in school.
4. Build On Nice Memories
If you feel your child is feeling sad to go back to school, say something like ", I bet these new pencil colors will help you make excellent science projects, remember how cool your last one was!" Let your child remember nice memories about the school year by reminding them of their triumphs and assuring them that this year they will improve their areas of weakness. 
For Mommy:
As you start a new school year, make it a priority to find time to attend the school meeting and get to know the new teachers. Communicate any concerns you have regarding your child’s performance or development. Put your thoughts in writing and give a copy to the class teacher so he/she doesn’t forget. A month later, follow-up on your notes and get the teacher’s feedback.
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