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  • Writer's pictureLisa Harris

Sending your kids Back to School? Here are 3 ways to set them up for success.

As summer winds down and September approaches, you may be in the process of prepping your kids for the much-anticipated back to school season. We all know the season as a time for new notebooks, fresh wardrobes, and bedazzled backpacks, but you may also know it as a time for stress and emotional turbulence.

There are so many feelings that come with the new school year - for both you and your child – and they’re often conflicting ones. Watching your kid grow up, develop new skills, and make new connections can be a very emotional experience, especially coming off a year spent at home. You may be feeling proud and excited, while also feeling nervous and anxious about being separated after quarantine. Speaking from personal experience, this year I’ll be sending both my boys off to college, and while it’s exciting to watch them grow and enter the next chapter of their lives, I’m also sad to have an empty nest.

With all the emotions that come with this time of year, if there’s one thing every parent has in common, it’s that we all want the best for our kids. Setting your kids up for success starts with getting organized. You know what they say, failing to prepare if preparing to fail! Whether you have a kid entering kindergarten or one heading off to college, there are some simple ways to get them – and yourself - ready for the first day of school.

1. Set a healthy routine

After a summer of staying up late, going out with friends and playing on the beach, one could hardly blame kids for having trouble getting back into the groove of school, especially when you consider that for the past year or so, virtual learning meant just opening their computer!

Getting back into a routine may take some getting used to, so help your kids by easing into it before the first day of school. Get them into the habit of waking up earlier, getting dressed for day and eating healthy meals. Putting structures in place now will make it easier for your kids to get the ball rolling and put their best foot forward for when it comes time to head back to school.

2. Get their supplies organized

Use back to school as an opportunity to go through and organize your child’s things. Set them up with a designated homework space and keep supplies simple so your kid can get focused instead of searching for missing assignments. Every kid has different needs, so take time to consider what type of working environment and organization will help your kid focus best.

Depending on their age, get them involved in the process of making decisions and teach them the value of “less is more.” By developing your kids’ organizational habits while they’re young, you’re setting them up for success not just in school but throughout their lives.

3. Help them organize their time

Back to school doesn’t just mean a collection of folders, pens, and calculators that need to be organized; it also means learning to manage time, tackling assignments and meeting deadlines. One of the most important skills you can teach your kid is how to get and stay organized, with both their time and their belongings.

Help your kids get in the habit of writing things down and sticking to a schedule. You can use a whiteboard or cork board for a visual reminder of important dates and assignments, or you can invest in a monthly planner. While you want to ensure that homework is done on time and appointments are met, it’s also important to give your kids some independence and responsibility so they learn to manage their time.

Wishing you and your family the best of luck for the school year ahead. While there are sure to be many emotions to navigate in the next few weeks, by getting you and your kids organized ahead of time, your family can focus on enjoying the back-to-school season and not stressing about all the details on the first day of school. This year will surely look different than the ones spent indoors, and there may be a bit of a learning curve – but hey, that’s what school is for!

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