Words of wisdom from our friend, Mighty mom Board Member and Assistant Principal of Juban Parc Junior High, Justin Wax.
12 Secret Parent Tricks to Survive the Start of School
The return to school can be exciting for students and parents, but it can also be a challenge. Here are 12 tips to make it easier for parents to survive the start of school:
- Get back to the bedtime routine. Research shows that students with an established bedtime perform better in school, have better relationships, and are less likely to engage in risk taking behaviors like drugs and drinking. 6th-12thgraders need 8 hours minimum and research suggests that 9-10 hours may actually be necessary.
- Follow a procedure for technology use at night. Set a clear cut-off time for cell phones and tablets to be turned off and stored outside of the student’s sleeping area, and stick to the plan. A minimum of 30 minutes before bedtime is the recommended time to avoid bright white light. This ensures a better night of rest.
- Establish the habit of eating breakfast. Today is a great day to start! Purchase foods that are high in protein and complex carbs. Look for foods like oatmeal, eggs, and granola. Avoid foods that are high in caffeine, sugar or fats to avoid the mid-day crash and insure your student can power through the day.
- Try on those school uniforms! Your student has been growing since their first day of school, but that skirt from three years ago hasn’t gotten any longer. Changing bodies require new clothes, including new undergarments. If it’s necessary to purchase new uniforms, verify that they meet the school requirements. Don’t forget about hair styles, colors and cuts. If anything is questionable, bringing them in for review by the disciplinarian means you can avoid an inconvenient trip to the hairstylist or clothing store on the first day of school. Of course, always check the return policy first!
- Review the school supply lists provided by the school. Thrift stores and closeout stores often carry discounted items to be placed out just for the start of school. Check the local churches and schools for free items for those in need. Pro Tip: Most schools have a website, and many have a free app or Facebook page for quick access to their supply lists if you want to save yourself a trip to the school.
- Have a plan for signing parent documents on Day 1. Parents blame kids for not bringing home papers to sign and students blame parents for forgetting to sign them. Designate a folder in your student’s backpack just for parent documents and have the adult remove them, sign them, and return. (This can later be used for graded papers or homework).
- Make preparations now for paying student fees and club dues. Many schools and clubs have their information posted online. Select which things are required, add the costs for clubs and organizations you want to join, and begin saving now. Pro Tip: schools want to get your money! Consider talking to the bookkeeper about a payment plan, even if it’s only a couple bucks a week.
- Set goals for the year. Consider course grade goals, extracurricular goals and personal/spiritual goals. Research shows that people who set goals tend to get more accomplished. Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Oriented). List the steps required to accomplish each goal, starting with one baby step that can be done immediately, like “set an alarm to remind me to read every morning” Pro Tip: Writing down goals and limiting to 3-5 goals is recommended.
- Make your student comfortable from the start. Contact a neighbor and have students plan to catch the bus together, or contact one of their friends and offer to bring them both to school on the first day.
Tips for transitioning students like 6th or 9thgraders:
- Consider touring the campus with your student, preferably with your student’s schedule. Many schools will provide you with a copy of the campus map. Pro Tip: Make highlights on a map for the routes to use on the first day.
- Make your schedule requests BEFORE the first day of school. Want your student to be fluent in Spanish by their junior year or to take Calculus II or travel to Italy for the last half of their senior year? Map their curriculum through their senior year and request the necessary courses before they start 9th Contact the guidance counselor and/or consider using a trusted teacher friend for helpful insight.
- Expect there to be changes. Emotions, hormones, and physical bodies are all undergoing new changes. Expect their friends to be a little different too, and remind them that even Brad Pitt had that big pimple at some point so it’s not the end of the world. Pull out their favorite outfit, an extra squirt of cologne or perfume, and walk in with confidence.
- Get organized! Binders, folders, labels, locker organizers. These things increase success. Become over-organized, over-prepared, and you’ll become and over-achiever.