OCTOBER 20, 2021
Fall means changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and kids returning to school. The crispness in the air this time of year offers new symbolism of new beginnings — the start of a new school year, new experiences for your child, and another chapter in your family’s life. However, back-to-school season can also be hectic, especially if you’ve been out of the routine for quite some time or you’re gearing up for your young child’s first-ever day of school.
Figuring out what to buy before school starts, compiling wardrobe checklists, teaching your children helpful safety tips, and getting back into the school routine is a big undertaking. To help you navigate back-to-school preparation, we’ve compiled some tips to keep in mind:
Creating a routine makes mornings easier, as it sets the tone for the day. Routines are a key component of positive mental health, especially if kiddos experience anxiety about returning to school. Instituting a morning routine (and teaching children to do so) helps with transitions, reduces stress, and improves interpersonal relationships. Consider these healthy habits to set you and your children up for back-to-school success:
Plan out a few healthy breakfast ideas that are easy to prepare in the morning. Wake up early to prepare for the day, so no one feels rushed.
Pack well-balanced lunches with healthy foods, and prep as much as possible ahead of time.
Incorporate in a fun 5-minute stretch routine, even if it’s in the carpool line or on the way to school.
Make sure to lay out clothes and pack homework and binders in backpacks the night before.
Remind your children of important safety tips, like the code to open your keypad front door lock or who will pick them up after school.
For grade-school children, the back-to-school shopping list has stayed the same for generations. There’s the paper and pencils, spiral notebooks and planners, and glue sticks and scissors, depending on the age of the child. The tech-savvy teen and their more modern way of learning, however, may require more bells and whistles than your generation needed.
Pencils and pens that match the school criteria
Notebooks with both lined, blank, and graph paper
Laptop and charger
USB charging cord
Wireless mouse and keyboard
While you’re at it, get a head start on those inevitable fall germs by making sure your kids have hand sanitizer, face masks, and wipes. If you want to support your child’s teacher and the other students in the classroom, too, feel free to send in extra hand sanitizer, disinfecting sprays and wipes, and plenty of tissues.
After being away from school for months — or maybe even an entire year — it’s understandable a child may experience anxiety about re-entering the social stream. Here are some tips for a smooth transition:
Visit your child’s classroom before school starts to meet their teacher and ask any questions or address concerns.
Schedule socially distanced playdates a few weeks before school begins to familiarize kids with their peers.
Help your child develop good habits by practicing rules, such as not interrupting and paying attention during lectures, that segue into the school year.
Encourage children to join a community club, sport, or other extracurricular during the summer to stay in touch with classmates.
Hire a tutor or review academic material with your child so they’ll be back in the swing of things when school starts.
Since you, the adult, also have had a break from school, consider planning or attending a get-together with fellow parents to meet each other and prepare to start the year out right.
Whether kids are attending school in-person or they’re involved in virtual or homeschool classes, there are steps you can take to keep your students safe and secure. While technology continues to add convenience to our lives, consistent remote learning is a new development for kids and parents alike. Additionally, children are becoming more and more social online, so make sure they’re practicing safe digital behavior. Some tips follow:
Discuss online and digital safety and phone safety with your kids.
Establish routine check-ins to talk with children about their online activities.
Set up content blockers and safe search filters to keep your teens away from inappropriate content.
Engage with your child virtually. Touch base with them via chat, or send them a funny video via their favorite apps. This will help you better understand where your child is most active online so you can determine where best to monitor them.
Kids also need a regular refresher on tried-and-true safety rules:
Remind children about traffic safety, including how to properly cross the road, how to get on and off the bus safely, and how to walk at least 10 feet in front of the bus to ensure the driver can see them. Also emphasize they should never use a device or wear earbuds while crossing the street.
Educate kids about safe practices such as avoiding distracted walking, not talking to strangers, and traveling in groups when walking to and from school.
Establish designated pickup and drop-off areas so your child always knows where to find you.
Go over rules for teens driving to school. Require everyone to buckle up and put their phones away. Also remind your student driver to be aware of passengers, bystanders, and their general surroundings at all times.
Allow easy after-school entry with a SmartCode Wireless Keypad Leverlock. This way your kids don’t have to keep up with physical house keys.
Jason Stevens is a senior writer for Brinks Home. He is a "tech guy" who enjoys sharing home security and automation tips with others.
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