Ways to Survive the Start of the School Year
By Katie Basson
It happens every year. Just when you are settled in to the lazy days
of summer, you are startled to find Back to School catalogs in your
mailbox and bikinis going on sale in favor of turtlenecks. Your local
store has devoted an entire aisle to pencils, notebooks, and lunch
bags. Soon there will be no more long days at the beach, late nights
watching movies with popcorn, or mornings free of alarm clock jitters.
Its enough to make you dread September, but it doesnt
need to be that way. With a slight change in attitude and a plan in
place, September can be one of the best months of the year.
Dont wait until Labor Day to get ready for the changeover
to the school year. Begin pulling back bedtime during the last two
weeks of Augustaround 8:30 to 9:00 PM for elementary school
Lower Your Expectations
Major transitions equal disruption. Routines change and priorities
shift. Allow yourself extra leeway when it comes to chores and tasks.
Avoid scheduling appointments during the month surrounding the start
of the school year.
Carve Out Extra Time
Clear the decks of added responsibilities so that you can get through
the transition with less stress. Dont sign up for your usual
extra-curricular activities. Keep your family commitments to a minimum.
Motivate Your Kids
Preparing for school isnt a job only for parents. The students
themselves have things they must do to get ready. Make all the back
to school activities, like shopping for school clothes, a fun family
event. Devote the first week of school to getting settled and having
fun as a family. Plan pizza nights and ice cream socials. Schedule
extra game nights and buy a new puzzle.
Ask for Help
Reduce your stress during this transition. Enlist help to complete
all the back to school tasks. Hire a babysitter to watch your younger
children while you take your older children to buy school clothes.
Ask grandparents to supervise school supplies purchases.
Set the Tone
Set a positive tone for the new school year. If you approach September
with the kind of dread usually associated with prison terms, you
can be sure your kids arent going to be too happy about going
to school. On the other hand, if you show interest and excitement
in what lies ahead, then your child will be eager to get started.
The beginning of a new school year is an important time for a child.
The whole family should be interested and involved in the process.
Express interest about the upcoming year, classes, and school friends.
Share your school memories. Celebrate this new beginning!
beginning of a new school year can be an exciting time for a family.
Its a fresh start with new teachers and classmates, and perhaps
even a new school. Planning for the best possible beginning to the
year shows your child how much you care. The more effort you put
into it, the more you and your child will reap the rewards.
Basson is a parent, teacher, and creator of The BITs Kit Better
Behavior Kit for Kids. Katie teaches seminars on behavior
modification techniques, and assists parents through challenging
behavioral and educational issues. She serves on the Board of Directors
of the YWCA and is an educational advisor to Zoesis, Inc., a childrens
software company. Katies expert advice has been sought for
articles in The Boston Globe and Parents Magazine. Sign up for her
biweekly Parenting Solutions newsletter at www.bitskit.com.