5 Parenting Tools for the New School Year
With summer nearing the end, parents and children have to gear up for a brand new school year. Here are Mighty Mommy’s 5 tools to help enhance your child’s fresh start at school.
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As August quickly picks up speed, you and your family can’t walk into a store, turn on the TV, or drive along in the car without noticing something related to a subject many would like to pretend isn’t really happening: back-to-school!
Truthfully, I’ve been seeing back-to-school advertisements since early July, but I refuse to look at a brand new box of crayons or an array of 5-subject notebooks until we’ve eaten our share of summer favorites like watermelon and s’mores, hit the beach at least a dozen times, and actually cleaned out our backpacks from the previous school year.
However, I can’t ignore the fact that the calendar is reminding me that we head back to school in just a few short weeks. While most school districts provide plenty of helpful school supply lists for kids to start off their new school year, Mighty Mommy has a list of her own to share. But this one is for parents, not students.
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Tool #1: Planning
Many will joke that “plan” is a 4-letter word, but when used for the purpose of making your family’s life easier, I think it’s one of the most important skills we can have in our parenting toolbox. Get your entire family involved in the planning stages of the new school year no matter how young they are. Routine things like getting outfits, backpacks and making school lunches the night before can be taught to your kids—and is not something you should take on all by yourself throughout the school year.
Planning where and when homework will be done is another go routine to set early in the year. Don’t forget about all those activities your kids will be involved in either. Let your kids help plan their after school schedules so they can start becoming better managers of their time. And of course kids need to eat and sleep in healthy proportion to what they are doing with the rest of their life.
Tool #2: Change Bad Habits
As summer comes to an end, I take time to reflect back on the previous school year and give thought to what worked for our family and what caused us unnecessary stress so that I can make positive changes for this school year. For example, my 7-year-old daughter is a real social butterfly—she gets off the bus every day asking if she could have a playdate before she even said hello to me. I got into a very bad habit of allowing her to have playdates nearly every day because of the guilt I felt that her older siblings were all involved in sports activities and she wasn’t.
When I did tell her no, she sulked and was miserable. I’ve already spoken to her this summer and explained that this school year we’d be handling after school playdates and commitments differently because we need more time at home. I did, however, surprise her with the news that she’s enrolled in gymnastics class. This certainly tempered the new limit of only a few playdates each month.
Tool #3: Patience
The one tool that all parents need, no matter the time of year, is patience. Summertime causes us all, parents and kids alike, to go into relaxation mode. It's easier to be patient in summer when everyone seems less demanding and less pressured. But come fall, every child has a demand and often all demands are landing on you at the same time. Because of the sheer newness of hectic back-to-school schedules, patience is perhaps of greatest asset for all parents in the fall.
Why is that?..