8 Sure-Fire Tips for Smoother School Days
Reduce stress with these simple, time-saving, mood-lifting strategies.
Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
- Start your day the night before. Prepare snacks and clothes and solidify the next day's plan at night. Fill your child's backpack with the things that he may need for school or for an after-school play date.
- Wake up earlier. Give yourself and your child extra time in the morning — even 15 minutes will help. Try using an alarm clock that plays soothing nature sounds or happy music to make wake-up time more fun.
- Send only teacher-approved items to school. Talk to your child's teacher about classroom rules before sending in anything. Most teachers do not want children bringing in valuable items or toys that encourage aggressive play, but will likely encourage a favorite book or photograph.
- Create a special drop-off ritual. Come up with a memorable, loving way to say goodbye — a lipstick kiss on the hand, a secret handshake, or a special phrase that you create with your child.
- Set aside after-school downtime. Some children experience a meltdown at the end of the day. To avoid this, try to build in some time to unwind after school. Allow your child to visit the playground, spend time alone curled up with a book, or engage in quiet activities such as painting, building with blocks, or solitary imaginative play.
- Make dinnertime family time. Whenever possible, eat together as a family. Kids benefit from spontaneous dinner-table conversations. Ask your child to tell you about his day and share interesting things that happened to you. He will feel more "grown up" when he is included in this sort of conversation.
- Follow the school's rules. Teachers count on families to support the classroom rules and routines — such as sick-child policies, authorized escorts, and arriving on time.
- Give Your Child Undivided Attention. Set aside time each day just to be with your child — even if it's just 20 minutes — and allow no interruptions. Follow his lead and take time to observe his interests and enter his world. You will learn a lot about your child, and he will be thrilled to have this time with you.