Today was the first day of school for my 3 kiddos. I think I was more excited than they were! I’ve had a hard time getting anything done this Summer with the kids home and so many fun distractions. I’m looking forward to getting back to our routines.
There are so many factors that can influence your child’s success in school. Many things can be done ahead of time to help prepare them. Here are a few things we have done to help with future school success.
Clothes. Before school starts, take some time to go through all of your child’s clothes with them. I actually make them try them on and take an inventory of what they have that still fits and what they still need to get. Here is my post on organizing clothes. Then we go shopping. I wouldn’t recommend buying too many pants right away. One year we bought a lot of pants for my daughter and she outgrew them before it was cold enough to wear them. We usually try to get at least one new shirt for school. If their clothes are still in good shape, there really is no need to buy too many outfits.
Prayer. This is a huge part of my children’s school success. I believe that God wants us to be educated and to learn everything we can while we are here. If we do our best, He will help us in our learning efforts. A few years ago, my daughter took a difficult AP class. She put in tons of hours studying for the final test, but ultimately felt overwhelmed with the amount of material she was supposed to cover. The night before the exam she was so stressed out. She had studied all she could. Before going to bed, she knelt and prayed to ask Heavenly Father to help her do her best on the test. She woke up very early the next morning with the distinct impression to study a particular group of people. She didn’t remember much about them so she quickly studied about them. She was amazed when she saw that one of the main questions was about this particular group of people. She knows that Heavenly Father helped her to do her very best (she got a 5!).
The week before school starts, my husband gives the kids a Father’s Blessing. This is a special prayer that worthy men who hold the Priesthood can give. It is a spiritual occasion for our family and fills each of us with so much hope, encouragement, excitement, and peace for the upcoming new year.
We also have family prayer every morning and pray for each other and our day. It is such a great way to draw closer as a family.
Library. I am a big fan of the library system. It’s a great way to get books in their hands. All of my kids have their own library cards. They can search and order books online. We have taken them to the library since they were little. It is a great place for your kids to go and there are fun activities and books to explore and read. We have a basket in our family room where all of the library books go so that we never lose them.
My kids haven’t always been readers. But kids need lots of interactions with books. When they are babies-they can touch, or slobber on them. As they get older they can look at pictures. We had books of the characters in their favorite shows. Read to them. When they were younger, my husband would read to them some of the Encyclopedia Brown books. They loved to solve the mysteries. Make sure to have them read to you as well. The secret is to find the right genre that will hook them and get them to not want to stop reading. Each of my kids had very different interests in books but we found something for each of them.
“Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”Benjamin Franklin
SLEEP. This is huge for kids. Far too many kids are tired and sleepy in school. Less than 9% of teens are getting the sleep that they need! Our Summer was crazy! We stayed up late a lot and didn’t get enough sleep on most days. Now we are getting back to a routine! I like the saying, “A tired brain is a dumb brain.” I have seen that when I don’t get enough sleep. My kids get good grades partly because they are sleeping enough.It really helps them have success in school. Plus it keeps them healthier, less ornery, and more energetic. Having them go to bed earlier also gives me and my spouse some much needed time together. Bonus!
Something we did when they got to elementary school is to get them their very own alarm clock. They learn to be responsible for themselves and how to plan the right amount of time in the morning. It is soooooooo much better when they wake themselves up then when I have to do it.
Magic Hour. This is the time just after the kids get home from school. The moment when they walk into that door is when I get all of the details of the day. If I wait until later, they seem to tell me less. I absolutely love this time I have with each of them and hate if I have a meeting and have to miss it. It is a valuable time for me to find out about their challenges and disappointments, upcoming events, and exciting things that happened that day. Plus I get one-on-one time with each one.
Homework. Ugh! The dreaded word! I’m actually a fan of some homework…if it helps them master a concept or skill. Plus it helps me know what they are working on in school. The time after school from 3-5 is quiet time at our house. The kids study, practice instruments, or read. The TV doesn’t go on because it becomes such a distraction.
Have a clean place for them to study. We have a bench on the porch where they like to go. Each child has a desk in their room and the kitchen table is also an option if they need help from me or a sibling. Sunday is our day of rest and we don’t do any homework on that day. My kids know if they procrastinate that they’ll have to do it late Saturday or early Monday. I have seen amazing blessings come from not doing homework on Sundays. It really hasn’t been much of an issue with my kids since they usually do it right after school.
My daughter likes to play symphony music while she studies. She says it helps her focus. Music can be very soothing. Sometimes my kids prefer quiet-so they study in their rooms. Give them whatever environment will help them flourish in school.
Planner. We get a planner for each of our kids and teach them to write every homework assignment and when it is due. Then they can check it off when it is completed. This has really helped them. At first we started with a folder with need to be completed on one side and completed on the other. This is a simple way to help them remember to do their homework.
Get involved. There are so many opportunities to get involved in school: clubs, sports, drama, academics, music, leadership, service opportunities, PTA, and community council. Get involved. Get your kids involved. It will help them make new friends and broaden their opportunities while in school. You can contact your local school for ideas. Being involved in my kids’ classes and schools has really helped me understand their challenges and daily activities so much better.
Food. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! These kids need fuel to make it through the day. Last week we had a food prep day. My kids helped me make pancakes, waffles, french toast, and muffins to freeze so they will have lots of yummy, filling options. I also like to make breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos too. There really are so many options for breakfast. My kids pack their own lunch. We have storage drawers in our pantry for snacks and lunch food. I try to keep a variety of snacks and chips so that they can take a variety of food for lunch. My kids are getting tired of sandwiches, so we are exploring other options for lunch. Any suggestions?