Polk County begins the 2019-2020 school year on Tuesday, and parents are pulling together last minute supplies from their lists, assembling uniforms, and prepping for another year of lunch packing. The first few weeks of school are foundational, as the routines and habits you set up now can make or break the tone of the year for your kids, and for you! While there is plenty of advice floating around about planners and schedules and how to make sure our children are successful in and out of the classroom, here are some tips for kicking off the school year and setting up for a great year in ways other than organizers and homework plans.
First, remember to schedule down time! You've just come off of summer break, and with the start of the school year also marking the beginning of many extracurricular activities like sports and various lessons, it's easy to overload your schedule quickly and leave you and your children feeling overwhelmed. If every evening and weekend is filled with practices, games, recitals, or classes, you're leaving little time for self-care, which is important for every member of the family. While being active and involved is great, remember to schedule in at least a little bit of downtime for yourself and your kids amongst the busyness. It doesn't have to be much. Even 30 minutes a day of quiet time to regroup, read a book, take a nap, or sit in the sunshine is good for everyone in the family and will go a long way in lowering stress and boosting morale.
Additionally, remember to intentionally connect with your kids. After weeks of your kids being home from school, sending them back to the classroom (and then having them come home with additional hours of homework) means it can feel like you're doing more managing and less parenting. Back to school doesn't have to mean lack of connection with your children. Great ways to connect during the school year are getting up in time to have a simple breakfast together, lunchbox notes or surprises, setting aside evenings for family dinners, or even having a weekly movie night together. Connection looks different for every family, but is important to your kids, so don't forget to make time for it this year!
Finally, make education a family affair. It's no secret that kids who feel supported and encouraged in their education will do better in school and get better results in the classroom. Supporting your kids doesn't have to look like volunteering in their school multiple times each week. For you, it might mean making yourself available for homework questions and signing off on papers each evening after dinner, or providing assistance with a school project over the weekend. In addition to hands-on support with your student(s), developing a relationship with your child's teacher(s) is also a great way to create an environment at home that encourages learning and doing well in school. Many teachers make themselves available through in-person conferences, phone calls, or even emails, and simply checking in on occasion is a good way to let your student know that their teacher AND their parent(s) care about their education and want to see them be successful.
Newton Peach Marketing is proud to support our local Polk County schools, and we are wishing all of the teachers, students, and families a GREAT school year.