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/

Cooking=Math, Reading, and Science

I try to do a few activities with my son during the week. They are usually arts and crafts and cooking related. One week we made blueberry bars. It’s the easiest recipe ever. The hard part is making the bar look like the one in the recipe picture. I’m not the best baker, but I try. I learned about this recipe in Against All Grains book. It’s a simple recipe and in the process I learned how to make blueberry jam. It’s easy and I can’t believe I didn’t learn this sooner. My son enjoyed spreading the jam on the almond flour dough. I did a lot of the heavy work, but the point is we do the activity together. He learns about measurement, how to read a recipe, and the importance of portions in Spanish. It’s a fun way to learn new words such as “una cucharra” or “una taza.” He feels very proud of himself for knowing Spanish. Here is the picture of the blueberry bars. I don’t want to show my horrible baking. This is better. IMG_4649 (1)

Reading Detective Kit

I am currently working with children on not only having strong comprehension skills, but also making sure their fluency and word problem solving skills are strong and consistent. I decided to put a “kit” together. Students can use this as a reference while reading at home with a family member. Here is what my kit contains:

  1. reading marker-it’s a highlighted strip that children can put over a sentence and not get distracted by the other sentences.
  2. reading strategy bookmark- students can use it while reading when they approach a difficult word.
  3. retelling hand– students use their hand to retell a story by identifying the character, their actions, problem, and solution.
  4. story sequence sheet– students use linking words to talk about what happens first, then, next, after, and lastly.
  5. questioning– Students discuss stories by asking I wonder . . . why, how, when in relation to the story.
  6. main idea and details-students use a graphic organizer to talk about non-fiction stories.

Kids enjoy using tangible materials that help them become stronger readers.

Holiday Gifts: Books for kids

Christmas is a great time of the year to expand your child’s library. I am proponent of bilingualism and think children should be taught several languages in public schools. A great way to expose children to a new language and make it fun is through books. Here are some of my favorites. These books are bilingual, but I encourage you to read only the Spanish section of the book.

Qué Montón de Tamales – Gary Soto

This is my favorite book! Maria helps her mom make tamales, but loses her mother’s wedding ring in the masa. Read the book and learn about Mexican cultural traditions at Christmas time and find out if Maria gets the ring back!

En Mi Familia- Carmen Lomas Gorza

This book has paintings on each page depicting favorite family celebrations of the author’s life. Read it with your child and see if you can relate to any of the celebrations.

http://www.amazon.com/In-My-Family-En-familia/

Pelitos- Sandra Cisnero

This beautifully illustrated book is narrated by the main character. She describes her family member’s hair. Read to find out whose hair she loves best!

Stories and Songs written by children’s composer Jose Luis Orozco

He has a lot of choices on his website, but my favorite is the De Colores book and CD. It has all the nursery rhymes in Spanish!

http://joseluisorozco.com/de-colores.html

Stories written by Latin American author Alma Flor Ada

She has a lot of choices as well. Choose a book that best interests your child.

A Rose With Wings

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