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Back to School Basics in the Valley of the Sun

By Jill “Mamabug” Frier

Back to school already? The summer seemed to fly by and it’s once again time for kids to start back to school. With summer heat and monsoon season in full effect, every bit of advice to make life a little less hectic and eliminate the drama is welcome. We collected some great tips from teachers, parents, doctors, and other education and child experts to find some of the most practical and useful tips for making sure your child is on track and ready to go for the upcoming school year.

Get Back Into a Routine
One of the most important things you can do to get your kids on the right track for school is to set a routine and schedule for the school year. This is the time to reset sleeping patterns, establish a wake up time, and set the guidelines for meals, chores, homework and activities. Make sure that you, your significant other, and your kids are on the same page with the schedule to make it easier for the whole family. Some of the items to build into your routine include:
• Bed time and sleep schedule
• Wake up time
• Breakfast and dinner
• Homework schedule
• Extra activities

Getting enough sleep is one of the most critical factors in making sure that a child does well in school. Children who do not get enough sleep have a hard time concentrating and learning to their full potential. Insufficient sleep is also associated with lower academic achievement for older kids, in addition to higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness.

Experts agree that having a consistent bedtime routine and wake up time for your child is one of the best ways to make sure they get the right amount of sleep. They suggest starting to reset sleeping patterns about seven to 10 days before the first day of school. Make sure your kids get into a routine of going to bed and waking up with plenty of rest every day, so you can avoid this being a factor during the first week of school.

Establish Healthy Eating Habits
Another critically important factor in ensuring your kids are at their best during school is making sure that they eat right, especially at breakfast. Studies show that kids who eat a healthy, nutritious breakfast have better concentration and more energy for school. Make sure their breakfast contains some protein and enough calories to get them through to lunchtime. Plan ahead to make sure you either sign you child up for the hot lunch program, or have healthy choices available to include when packing lunch, so your kiddo doesn’t get hungry before the end of the day.

And don’t forget the after-school snack! My kid is always so hungry when I pick her up from school that she inhales any snack I give her. Give your kid some healthy, but filling, options to keep them going all day long and give them the energy for homework and any activities they have after school is out.

Set the Stage for Homework and Study
So how do you bring it all together to help your student be a better learner? Experts recommend setting academic goals as a first step. Work with your kid to help them think about their goals and grades, and how they plan to reach those goals, before they head into the school year. Help them plan ahead and establish good study habits, and let them know it’s okay to ask for help if they stumble over a subject during the school year. Work with their teacher to help them understand any challenges or problems your child may have, and keep in touch throughout the school year to make sure you keep up with how they are doing in the classroom and whether you have concerns about assignments.

It’s also important to set aside a distraction-free space that can be used for doing homework. Whether it’s in their bedroom or another quiet room in the house, make sure they have room to study with no TV, devices, or other attention-grabbing distractions. Be sure to schedule time for homework into your child’s daily routine, and make the timeframe consistent.

Going back to school is a hectic time for kids and parents. You can take charge of the school year by planning ahead and setting the stage to make sure your child has the basic essentials available for being a successful student. Set the foundation with a regular routine, enough sleep, healthy food, good prioritization, and a quiet space to study – you kid will handle the rest in the classroom!

Be sure to check www.LadybugsBlog.com for more tips and tricks for managing life’s challenges with kids and family, and for some great ideas for having fun inside and outside all year round in Arizona!

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