Top Ten Tips for Back-to-School

In the blink of an eye, sea shells will be replaced by school bells. There may not be any single remedy for the back-to-school blues, but a few tips might ease the transition for you and your kids. Here are the top ten tips every family should remember before the kids head back to school.

1. New school outfit. Celebrate the beginning of fall with new duds. Shop early for the best selection.

2. An alarm clock. With a looser bedtime routine, you might not remember how to program your clock. Be certain the alarm is still working. Check the batteries, if the clock is not electric.

3. Bus route. If your child takes the school bus, make certain your child knows which bus to take and when.

4. A hearty breakfast. Beat the morning rush with a pre-set table at night. Plan meals for the first week of school to ensure your kids get off to the right start nutritionally.

5. Appropriate school bag. Your child may be growing, but an adult-sized backpack isn’t always the right choice. Test out your child’s book bag to make certain it fits your child’s body.

6. Family calendar. List every family member on the calendar (including the family pet!), one person per column. If you have a home computer, you can make your own; or purchase one at your local craft store. Organize each week according to each member’s school and extracurricular commitments.

7. Sleep. Getting your kids back into a night time ritual may be a challenge so start early. Several weeks before school starts, begin reducing how late your children are allowed to stay up. Ideally, you want them in bed at a decent hour at least a few days before school starts.

8. Safety. Practice crossing the street with your young children. The sooner they acquire this skill for themselves, the safer they will be. Review other safety measures such as what to do in case of fire or other emergencies.

9. Set goals for the new year. What new things do your children want to learn? Perhaps they pursued a new interest during the summer. Determine how they can integrate it into their school schedule.

10. Celebrate. A new era is dawning! Celebrate your children’s first day of school with something special – their favorite ice cream, popcorn or other treat!

Christine Louise Hohlbaum, American author of Diary of a Mother: Parenting Stories and Other Stuff and SAHM I Am: Tales of a Stay-at-Home Mom in Europe (2005), is a frequent guest on NPR. When she isn’t writing, leading intensive seminars or wiping up messes, she prefers to frolic in the Bavarian countryside near Munich where she lives with her husband and two children.

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