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10 Tips for Back-to-School Success for Your Child

Going back to school carries a mixed bag of feelings. You've enjoyed the relaxed schedule of summer, but you're ready to get back into a routine. Your child is refreshed and now looks forward to seeing school pals again. One thing that still hovers over you and your child is the anxiety over whether or not the school year will be successful or a dud.

Here are some tips to help your child get off on the right foot:

1. Meet the teachers. Most schools have an orientation that enables students and their parents to meet the teachers and administrative staff. Don't miss out on this opportunity to see the people who will be responsible for the majority of your child's weekdays.

2. Have a set bedtime. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure your child gets enough sleep to stay sharp throughout the day. If your child enjoys reading or listening to music before she goes to sleep, start the routine a half hour before you turn off the lights.

3. Assign a space for everything. Your child will need a place to put her backpack and papers that you need to sign. She'll also need a comfortable place to do homework.

4. Have some down time. Everyone needs time to relax each day, so schedule it into every single weekday. If you are home when your child returns from school, you may want to have a healthy snack with your child while she tells you what she did all day. This is a great way to bond with your child and learn some things that will strengthen trust in your relationship.

5. Eat nutritious food. Make sure your child gets a well-balanced diet at home with plenty of protein, vegetables, and sources of calcium. Too much sugar may cause sluggishness that interferes with learning, so limit the sweet treats.

6. Encourage your child to invite friends over. You'll get to know the kids she plays with at school, and their relationship will carry over to the classroom. Your child will feel like she fits in better when she has outside-the-school relationships with her classmates.

7. Reinforce learning. Encourage your child to put her math skills to use while helping you measure ingredients for a recipe. Take turns reading storybooks for fun. It's also important to praise your child for learning new skills and concepts.

8. Set a good example. Let your child see you reading, balancing your checkbook, and doing other things that make use of the lessons he is learning in school.

9. Discuss what happens in school. In the most natural way possible, ask your child what she enjoyed most about her day. You might ask if anything funny happened at school. Don't pounce on her and make her feel she's being interrogated. You might want to participate by sharing some things from your day at work.

10. Communicate with teachers. Every once in a while, check in with your child's teachers. Find out how they prefer to be contacted and use that method. You can use email, handwritten notes, phone calls, or drop-in visits to stay in contact. Don't forget to thank the teachers for their dedication to your child's education and offer your support.

Remember that your child will have both good and bad days. If you stay engaged by communicating and following these tips for success, you'll probably experience more positive than negative, and you will have a happier child.

Deborah Wallace


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