learning and kids · literacy development and children

Back To School Tips For Parents

It’s that time of year again, we are gearing up for back to school routines and schedules. It is tricky to go from relaxing summer days where kids have a flexible bedtime, late dinners, or hey let’s go get some ice cream and push bedtime. That being said the transition from summer to the school year can feel hectic and unpleasant at times. If you haven’t already started a bedtime routine start now!

Start putting your kids to bed earlier and get them up early for breakfast, changing their clothes, and brushing their teeth.  Get them out the door and take them around the block or to the park just so they get the feel of the routine. You will get resistance the first few days, but I guarantee you, it will save you a lot of headaches when school starts. I posted about a visual summer schedule. Now create a school morning schedule. It will minimize you repeating directions and getting impatient. It will also give your child a sense of accomplishment, so don’t forget to acknowledge their effort with a high 5, a sticker, or a special treat at the end of the week.

I work in education so I am fortunate to have an early pick up time for my son. That being said, I do put him in after school programs twice a week. His school has a lot of great choices. I try to pick an activity he will enjoy. He does gymnastics twice a week. It’s a good way to get his energy out. I think kids need more time than 15-20 minutes of daily recess. I say tap into your child’s interest. Let them explore new interests as well. If your child does not attend after school programs and has a sitter, I am a firm believer in down time (if they are under the age of 7 years old) I know your kid is bouncing off the wall! Because they are over stimulated from all the movement, learning, and expectations. In school they are expected to listen and sit still and walk up and down the stairs and sit in a LOUD cafeteria for lunch. It’s a lot! I’ve worked with kids for over 15 years and I can tell you that they are tired. Rest time does not include a smartphone or iPad. They can read a book, color, or draw. They can even lay in bed and just stare at the wall. My son still naps. I have to see how this school year goes before his nap is taken away. He is happier with a nap.

You can start with homework right away, if your child is not the resting type. Your child does not get homework?! Ask the teacher how you can support your child at home, head over to Barnes and Noble and pick up some grade appropriate workbooks. For K-2 kids, I suggest 30 minutes a day of homework excluding daily reading with an adult. Studies show there is no benefit to homework in grades K-2. Everyday doesn’t have to be a homework day either. Monday can involve a learning game, Tuesday complete a traditional homework sheet/workbook, Wednesday is arts and crafts day, Thursday have your little one build something with blocks or magna-tiles then they have to explain their creation. Have them make signs for their creation. Friday is free choice. Maybe they help you cook. This takes a lot of pre-planning, but it will be a great “homework” experience for them.

Here are some back to school resources: Any of the games below can be rotated as homework!

A leak proof lunch box! It keeps things hot and cold. You can find it on Amazon

https://www.tocber.com/—-hot-cold-jar-bo–food-for-bento-pack—-insulated—thermos-food-and-temperature-leak-proof-zones-lunch–2-kids–pink—omiebo–compartments–3-for-berry–two

I love everything Leapfrog

Teach your pre-k/k kids spelling and reading with picture support

This link is for arts and crafts. It’s called Maker Space. Next time you do art with your kids make it purposeful.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Create-a-Maker-Space-for-Kids/

traveling with kids

Traveling with a baby or toddler.

Traveling with our children can feel daunting at times. There is so much to remember, especially when they are infants. I’ve learned a lot from traveling with our son. We take him everywhere with us. I’ve had people tell me, oh you need to take time for yourselves or just leave him with family. That is easier said than done and it’s just not something I feel comfortable doing. Don’t get me wrong, we have plenty of family and friends we know he will be in good hands. I think there is a time for everything and we just haven’t hit that time yet. Ha!

I used to try to travel “light” with our son. I don’t know what I was thinking. I would try to carry all of our stuff on a carry on and pack my bags to the max. I’ve learned that I should pack what I feel is important for my family and who cares if it’s too much stuff. So I makes lists of everything I need. I start with clothes and shoes, then move into toiletries, medicine, etc. When our son was an infant, I packed the breast pump a few diapers for the ride, bottles, etc. I learned about some things I don’t have to pack if I am visiting family such as a pack and play for sleeping, a stroller, and even a car seat because it just makes everything easier. I order a box of diapers and formula to arrive before us. I decided that we all need our own suitcase.So we each have a suitcase and packing cubes. Packing cubes changed my life. My son loves using them now. They are so easy to use and very helpful for organizing. My son has a set of toys he keeps while visiting family as well. I allow him to pack about 5 toys and a stuffed animal and his favorite blankie. If we are on vacation, he still takes the same amount of toys because we are so busy, he barely plays with them. I make sure that the hotel we stay in has a bed and child friendly activities for him that do not include watching television. I also specify that I need a car seat in the car picking us up. If they can’t supply it, then I bring my own car seat. I take everything I think will make my son feel comfortable for the flight and stay. If he is unhappy. then we are all miserable.

Once on the flight, he plays and reads books and he is allowed to watch a movie now that he is older. He knows he has to sleep at one point. It’s just a given and he doesn’t fight it. When he was an infant, I would walk him up and down the aisle and let him do whatever he wanted. I think I remember one bad flight where he just wasn’t happy, but overall he is a good traveler. As long as he doesn’t bother other people or make noise. I’ve seen parents try to keep their crawling infants or barely walking toddlers still and not let them out of their seat. I know it’s hard, but just let them roam, they need the movement and sensory input. I remember one time my son refused to sit or lay down on the seat. He wanted to lay on the floor. I know I am cringing! I set all his blankets on the floor and he fell asleep on top of them. It wasn’t something I would allow him to do, but it was a battle I didn’t want to fight.

As for food, I pack snacks and a meal for him. Some snacks I love are Babel cheese, crackers, organic fig bars, fruit and a veggies. I try to pick easy meals like pasta with veggies or a turkey and cheese sandwich.

Traveling with kids is a learning experience for the parents too. I say all rules are off, be flexible, and let them walk up and down the aisle. It will make things easier for you in the long run.

Here are some of my favorite things to travel with:

packing cubes

neck pillow

travel blanket

Snack Pouches

Happy Travels

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