A Working Mom’s Back to School Survival Guide
by Yannina Diaz
Let’s face it, the start of the school year is one of the busiest times of the year for any parent. As a mom to a 4th grader, here are a few tips that keep me sane during the first few weeks of school and basically throughout the school year as well!
1. Get them to bed! Summertime means staying up late for some kids. Be sure to set a reasonable bedtime so that they'll be rested and ready to learn in the morning (i.e. avoid what I call “cranky zombie kid”). Experts know that poor sleeping habits can have an impact on student performance, so the sooner you get your child on a regular sleep schedule, the better.
2. Be prepared! Mornings can be very hectic and frustrating! Organize and set out what they’ll need the night before (homework and books can be put in their backpacks by the door and clothes can be laid out in their bedrooms). The less running around in the morning the better for everyone.
3. Get to know you child’s teacher! Be sure to introduce yourself to your child’s teacher and ask him or her about the preferred method of communication (i.e. email, phone or in-person meetings.) This will make it easier to communicate about grades, homework assignments and projects.
4. Make homework time a daily habit. No one likes homework, but you can make it clear that education is a top priority in your family by creating a special place at home for schoolwork. Remove all distractions (i.e. electronics, toys, and even non-school age siblings!) and be sure to show interest in, ask questions about, and praise your child’s work.
5. Each school year is filled with events and to-do’s whether it’s school functions, lunch menus, soccer practices, and/or music lessons. Calm the chaos by creating a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules whether it’s a planner, an outlook calendar or a paper master schedule on the refrigerator door.
Lastly, school can be stressful for some children. Listen to your child and answer any questions they might have. You can also share your own childhood stories, sharing insights and memories from when you were in school. My 9-year-old loves to hear me reminisce about what he calls, “stories from the last century!”