Strategies for a Successful School Year | Helpful Articles from CFS

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By Julie Educate, MS, LPC

The 4th of July flew by in a blink of an eye! Now, school supplies are hitting the shelves in all the stores and it is time to start thinking about getting back into the routine for school. This can be a challenging time for both parents and students, because this routine has been gone for nearly three months. Here are some back-to-school tips for parents to help with the transition.     

Getting the most bang for your school supply buck

Find out if your state has tax free days for school supplies. For example, if you are from Wisconsin, those dates are August 1-5, 2018. The list of school supplies that are tax exempt on those days is on the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website. (Please note that you must spend $75 or more.) Depending on your school requirements, that adds up quickly! Let your child pick out the school supplies. It makes the beginning of the school year more fun for them. If you find yourself under the minimum dollar requirement, get some pens, pencils, and paper for at home. Buy an extra book bag or backpack because those can rip in the middle of the school year, or buy a book bag for yourself! How many times have you gone on an adventure and needed a book bag?

Easing back into the school year routine

Getting back into your school year routine can be challenging. Students come home utterly exhausted and do not want to do homework. Here is a helpful tip: be aware of the date and time school starts. Depending on your child, start easing into the transition of back to school at least two weeks before school starts. First, have your child go to bed at the regular school year bedtime. Then, begin waking your child up one or two mornings the first week at the time he or she should get up for school. Go through the morning routine of breakfast, brushing teeth, fixing hair, etc. Then follow the same routine three to four mornings the following week. When school starts, your child should be acclimated to waking up and will know the routine—that way there is no confusion on what your child should do on the first day of school.

Moving beyond “How was school today?”

What is the first question you ask when your child gets home from school? Most parents ask, “How was your day today?” Most children give a short, or even one-word answer. Here are some questions you may want to ask to expand the answer.

  • What was one thing you learned that was new?”
  • “Did you make your teacher smile today?”
  • “Did you help anyone today? How did you help?”
  • “What challenged you today?”
  • “Did someone do something nice for you?”
  • “How would you rate your day on a scale of 1 to 10? Why?”

Getting to know your school

Finally, get to know your child’s school. Take a tour on registration day. Meet your child’s teacher(s), and ask questions. Ask the teacher what the expectations are and how you can help your child be successful. If your child is new to the school, show him or her the bathroom and the cafeteria. If your child has a schedule of classes, like in middle or high school, walk through the classes with them. If your child has a locker, buy a combination lock at the store (if not provided), and help your child learn how to use a lock. Open and lock your child’s locker with them several of times.

Once the first day of school arrives, you and your child should be prepared if you follow these basic tips. Remember, God is always there to help. He loves your child, too. Most importantly, a prayer before school each day is always comforting and reminds your child that our heavenly Father wants us to bring all things to him in prayer. Have a great school year!

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