Smart Ways to Get Set for School
Forge a great relationship with your child's teacher.
1. Stay in touch. Introduce yourself as soon as you have the opportunity, and find out whether prefers that you communicate by phone, note, or e-mail.
2. Lend a hand. Volunteer to be a class parent, chaperone field trips, or read for Read Across America day. If you can't take on those commitments, or if you work full-time, ask the teacher what you can do to support his work. Donating supplies or snacks, or even making copies, can be a big help.
3. Be open to input. Try not to get defensive if the teacher offers constructive criticism about your child. If there are areas in which your child can improve, ask how you can help.
Essentials your child needs from you.
1. Organization! Remember class trips, permission slips, and open house night by keeping papers in a pocketed folder.
2. Room to Work. Even kindergartners need a regular spot to do their homework where they can sit up straight, spread out their papers, and not be distracted. If your child doesn't have a desk in her room, sitting at the kitchen table is much better than slouching on the couch.
Tips for tear-free goodbyes.
1. Don't linger. The longer you stay, the harder it is. Let your child know that you'll be there to pick her up , and say "See you later!" once she's gotten involved in an activity.
2. Create your own ritual. One mom says that she says goodbye to her son the same way every day: She kisses him on the cheek and gives him a butterfly kiss, and then they rub noses and hug. When the embrace is over, he knows it's time for her to go to work.
3. Bring a friend from home. Ask the teacher whether your child may bring along a stuffed animal to keep in her cubby in case she needs comforting.
4. Consider a reward system. Mark a calendar with smiley faces or sad faces to indicate the tone of the morning. On Friday, they enjoyed a treat together if there were five smiley faces.
5. Learn the other kids' names. When you can call your child's classmates by name, it makes school seem much more familiar and safe.
Solutions for "Morning Madness."
1. Have a productive evening. Do as much as you can the night before. Pack lunches, backpacks, and pick out clothes.
2. Wake up 15 minutes early. It always takes longer that we anticipate. It calms the nerves and prepares the child.
3. Let the routine rule. Children should do the required activities in the same order each morning--brushing teeth, getting dressed, . . . . Help him to create a morning to-do list that can be checked off without being reminded.
4. Don't hesitate to delegate. Assign morning chores--feeding the pet or clearing the table--to avoid arguments.
5. Prepare for breakfast. At night, lay out cereal, bowls, and spoons on the table. Make extra pancake batter when making.
6. Keep the TV off. This may cause grumbling, but watching television distracts from the tasks at hand.
7. Lighten up! If you are tense in the morning, your child will pick up on it. Instead of nagging her to get dresses, have a playful race to see who gets finished first.
8. Stick to a strict bedtime. If your child is hard to wake up and takes a long time to get ready in the morning, make his bedtime earlier.
9. Learn from your mistakes. If you have a frustrating morning, think about why it was so stressful. Then, you can figure ways to do things better tomorrow.
10. Pick a pit stop. Eliminate the mad dashes to find things by designating a special spot near the front door to put backpacks, sports equipment, and other school items.