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How to Beat the Back-to-School Blues and Get on with a Successful Year
I got the blues...the back-to-school blues...
The mornings have now started to have that familiar chill in the air. As I glance across the yard, I actually see a couple of yellow leaves have fallen. I get to the pool later and see a sign posted that says Labor Day will be the last day the pool is open for the season. I don't want to think about it, but all of the obvious says it is nearly back-to-school time, and in sets the blues! I start thinking about all the fun I had over the summer and begin wondering what sort of challenges I will face in school this year. It's a new grade, new subjects, maybe a new school, and some new friends. Oh I'll just deal with it when I get there because I'm not robbing my summer of one single day thinking about it now!
Do I Have To?
I know it's a must, but I'm still kicking and screaming! By now, I've been to one or more open houses for orientation, and it's too late to bolt! There is a thought that says just quit this pity party and get on with the business of planning for a successful school year, and get some enthusiasm will you?
I'm Afraid So
Alright then, as soon as I finish this mental temper tantrum, I'll just accept the inevitable, break out my school agenda, and get down to the business of scheduling all of the school events and closings for the upcoming year. I guess I should confess that I'm not the student but the parent. I know it may sound strange, but I think I've been doing this for too long. With my kids so far apart in ages, I feel like I have served two life sentences in schools. No matter, I'll have to dig deep and come up with the very enthusiasm I want to see in my own kid right?
What's It All For?
For parents, it's about getting our children ready for we hope will be a successful year. That means not only getting them the tools they need for the task but also helping them in other ways also. That's because some children have more anxiety than eagerness about all the back-to-school hoopla. Other children seem to love school the way a fish loves water; very natural in it, don't want to be out of it, and can't wait to be back in it. Either way, as parents we have to pass when it comes to pessimism. That's because, as you probably already know, our kids feed on our energy. So we have to be charged with positive energy, not negative. So here are some positive tips to beat the back-to-school blues for parents that have helped me, and you might find them helpful too:
Well if it's got to be done, it might as well be done right!
These tips will not only help you beat the back-to-school blues but will have you well on your way to a successful school year with your child.
1) Get a day-runner, agenda, or calendar to post important dates. It's really handy to get organized and to post not just what's happening with the kids but everybody in the house. Trust me, marking and keeping it current is a must, or confusion will meet up with wits end frequently during the school year. You could also use tools on smartphones to do this but only if you can be religious about it, and I know some people who are. Otherwise, there is something about seeing it in your own handwriting that works much better for others.
2) Obtain school supplies from list provided by the school instead of going for all the cool stuff first that may have to be returned later. That's because schools can be very strict about what is acceptable or not for your child to use in class. This will eliminate frustration for you of having returns and telling your child they can't have that Transformers trapper keeper after all.
3) Make a budget for back-to-school expenses. If you have a certain budget in mind for clothing, sneakers, and other items, then try to stick to it, but let your child have the choice of colors and styles within that range. Of course, any items you buy will have to be acceptable for school guidelines yet nice enough that you would still claim them at a bus stop running over with children. This is a way to keep some control but still allow for self-expression and taste for your child. If your kid's school has uniforms, then you're off the hook and don't need this tip.
4) Support your children in more ways than getting the right stuff. Even more important than getting the tools they need, giving kids the love and care they need can help them feel appreciated, and cause them to want to do their best in school. This one doesn't cost money, but any time is well spent.
5) Try to get to school for open houses and orientations with your children before the first day. This not only helps to relax your child about the first day but helps you as a parent to establish initial friendly contact with teachers, which can set the tone for good communication all year. If you miss it due to vacation or something, you can probably still meet with a guidance counselor and get a tour before the first day.
6) Share your expectations for the school year with your kids. Children tend to live up to what is expected of them. We do need to be reasonable in this area. For example, we might have thought we had a baby genius, but they may turn out to be rather average in academics. It could be that we were very athletic, but we realize that our kids don't really like sports at all. No problem. They need to be their own person. We want to just encourage them to do their best and reach their own fullest potential. Whatever you do, "it would be a mistake to try to turn an apple into an orange or an orange into an apple." Appreciate what you have. That's one of the best parenting tips I ever got because we need to recognize our own kids' strengths and weaknesses and love them all the more, regardless.
7) Empower your kids with the best attitude possible. With a sense of self that makes them feel good about what they are doing, they will likely see why following school rules and having good manners makes them feel valued too.
8) Discuss boundaries for the upcoming school year. It's no fun at all, but establishing or reestablishing routines like bedtimes, homework times, snack times, wake up times etc. helps children to learn responsibility and time management. Being consistent is important, but our kids are not in boot camp; so a little leverage can be granted for special reasons and occasions. Plus older children will have more input establishing their routines with approval of parents.
One of my kids seemed to always know what was up and hardly needed any reminders of the schedule. For the other one, I posted two schedules on the sliding closet doors; one for the AM routine and one the PM routine. I won't tell you how old this child was when they were taken down, but the important thing is that he has learned time management and is much more responsible now. So they do eventually get it! Giving up is not an option. Being consistent but patient are keys to helping our kids be successful in school.
9) Recognize your child's aptitude, but don't dismiss the need for a well-rounded education. For instance, a child may be great in math but hate English. Praise him for previous achievements in the subject he loves, but help him to see how the other subjects support what he likes. An easy way to show this is true is mentioning word problems in math. They teach reasoning skills not just cold calculation of numbers. It's like the way batteries can be used to charge different devices, our minds can be used to develop many skills; not just the ones we like best but other ones that will always serve us well beyond school days and into the future.
10) Show your commitment. Children need to see how important education is to us as a parent, and we need to convey to them that learning is a lifelong deal. Tell them about things you needed to learn for your job recently or classes you need to take for continuing education credits. If all else fails, ask them what good would their cell phone, iPod, or video games be if they had not learned how to use them. That's part of learning in life that never ends.
As Your Kids Go Off to School, Remember...
If you are like most parents, you want your kids to get the most out of the upcoming school year. Hopefully, the tips above will help you beat the back-to-school blues and get on with a successful school year. There are also some interesting websites listed below that you may find useful as parents and students in school with months or years more to go.
Links for Elementary School Age Kids
- Kids Games, Kids Movies, Kids Music, and More - Yahoo! Kids
Yahoo Kids! is the ultimate web guide for kids! Features fun and educational resources for kids with games, animals, music, jokes, movies, news, astrology, TV, science, e-cards, reference, and more.
- HowStuffWorks - Learn How Everything Works!
HowStuffWorks explains thousands of topics, from engines to lock-picking to ESP, with video and illustrations so you can learn how everything works.
- Activities for Children | Crafts, Printables, & Recipes - Kaboose.com
Read biographies, play games, watch interviews and video clips at Biography.com. Check out our Born On This Day, Deathiversary, and Black History sections. Visit The Biography Channel for great TV shows like BIOGRAPHY, Notorious, I Survived..., and
Links for Middle and High School Students
- Gizmos! Online simulations that power inquiry and understanding. | ExploreLearning
World's largest and most advanced online repository of math and science simulations for grades 3-12. Research-proven, inquiry-based learning tools for teachers and students. Web-based for anytime, anywhere learning.
- Sea and Sky - Explore the Oceans Below and the Skies Above
Sea and Sky is your one-stop source for all things related to the oceans, seas, and space exploration; features information, games, images, news, and much, much more.
- InnerBody.com | Human Body, Anatomy Charts, Anatomical Models
- Algebra.Help -- Calculators, Lessons, and Worksheets
For students and parents, includes lessons, step-by-step calculators, worksheets, and other algebra resources.
- Kids.gov - Main Page
- Department of Mathematics at Rice University
Math Department at Rice University - 6100 S. Main St. Houston TX 77005-1892. Earn a math degree, a masters or a PhD in Mathematics at Rice University.
- Stanford University
Stanford University is one of the world's leading research and teaching institutions. It is located in Palo Alto, California.