Article: 10 Tips to Make Back-to-School Cool

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Eliana on her first day of 4th Grade 2009-2010 school year

Eliana on her first day of 4th Grade 2009-2010 school year

By Dianne de Las Casas

On Eliana’s first day of 4th grade, she dashed out the door like Hare but looked more like Tortoise with her backpack strapped to her back like a turtle’s shell. And so, the morning races have begun. Your family is probably no different from our family. Everyone’s in a mad dash to change, eat breakfast, and get to school on time. Here are some tips to ease the transition from summer’s loose schedule to the fall’s regular school routine.

Get into the Groove with Early Bedtimes
The kids have been staying up late and getting up later because it’s summer. But it’s not too early to start readjusting their circadian rhythms to their regular school routines. One week before school starts, implement a strict bedtime. Do “practice runs,” in which the children get up as early as they do for school. This will help their bodies adjust to the back-to-school schedule. There is nothing worse than grouchy, grumpy kids who didn’t get enough sleep!

Pack It Up, Pack It In!
Whether you are organized and ordered pre-packaged school supplies or whether you like to catch those back-to-school sales, have all the school supplies ready to go one week before school starts. Pre-sharpen the pencils. Put all the supplies in one place, fitting as much as you can into your child’s backpack (without overloading them). On the big day, you’ll have everything you need at hand.

Label, Label, Label
Invest a few dollars and purchase a labeler like Dymo. I love my Letra Tag labeler. It beats handwriting your child’s name on every notebook, folder, and binder. With my labeler, I just press “Print” and the label with my child’s name magically appears – 50 times, if I want!

Wash, Iron & Set Out Clothes
If your child wears a uniform, wash and iron all the uniform pieces. Check for missing buttons and make any necessary repairs. If your child wears regular clothes, pick out each day’s outfit and have it ready for the first couple days of school. This will make it easier as your child transitions into the routine.

Lunch & Snacks
No matter what your children’s age, have them prepare or help you prepare lunch and snacks. This will enable them to have a say in what they eat (which means they are more likely to eat it) and give them responsibility by allowing them to pitch in. It’s fun to have Little Debbie’s or Hostess snacks but balance your child’s meals with fruit and veggies too. Plus, you can plan energy-boosting snacks like raisins, granola bars, and peanut butter and celery sticks. I like giving “Surprise Snacks” after school. I put the snack in a pretty paper bag and staple it closed. It’s like getting a present or one of those cool grab bags at the dollar store.

Prepare a Special “Welcome Back” Basket
Make a teacher’s day and send a “Welcome Back-to-School” basket or bag filled with supplies teachers need, cool books, or a gift certificate to an office supply store, book store, or education store. If your budget does not allow a basket, write a “Welcome Back-to-School” note and let the teacher know how much you look forward to working with him/her this school year. This sets the stage for a great teacher-parent relationship and shows your interest in your child’s education.

Picture Perfect First Day
Your child will never have another first day at school in this grade. Take a picture in the morning before everyone dashes out the door. You will love looking back and these first days and seeing how much your child has grown.

Note from You
Tuck a little note into your child’s snack, lunch or backpack. You can say:

* School is cool but you are cooler! Hope you’re enjoying your first day!
* You are a back-to-school super star!
* Happy Back-To-School! I’m proud of you!
* Roses are red. Violets are blue. School is cool and so are you!

Back to School Sign
Make a sign that says “Happy Back-to-School! I love you!” and hang it on the front door. Your kids will love the greeting just before they leave the house for school. What a great way to start the day.

Sweet Surprises – A Spoonful of Kisses
This makes a super sweet surprise for your kids. Take a plastic spoon and draw a funny face on it. Grab a small handful of Hershey Kisses. Place the kisses inside the spoon and wrap a small plastic bag or piece of cellophane around it. Tie a ribbon around and attach a little note: “A Spoonful of Kisses for You on Your First Day of School.” Then reward yourself and eat the rest of the bag. You deserve it. You made it through the first day of school!