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Stephanie Lyas

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It's A Jungle in Here: A Family Survival Guide for Back to School
by Stephanie Lyas   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, December 21, 2006
Posted: Thursday, December 21, 2006

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Some helpful tips to make heading back to school easier for the entire family.

“It’s a Jungle In Here!”- A Family Survival Guide for Back to School

It’s that time of the year again and parents and students alike are probably starting to feel the stress that goes with heading back to class. Between shopping trips for those “must have” back to school bargains and winding down all of the summertime activities, families sometimes need a little help getting off to a good start. Sure, crayons, pencils and notebooks are important tools for success, but kids also need a solid, secure foundation at home to help them have a productive school year. These simple tips will help the entire family avoid singing the “Back to School Blues” and ensure success throughout the school year: 1. Take a few extra minutes the night before to prepare for the day ahead. Get the kids to help fix lunches, lay out clothes, etc. Things are likely to go much smoother when you’re not in a mad rush to get out the door in the morning. 2. Make sure that kids get a good night’s rest. Begin setting curfews and bedtimes a few weeks prior to the first day of school to get everyone on a schedule. Establish bedtime rituals and be consistent. 3. Communicate openly with your child what your expectations are and teach them the importance of setting personal goals. Be supportive and encouraging. 4. Encourage your child to ask for help with homework, class assignments or projects when needed. Let your student know that it is okay to not know all the answers. Then, provide the proper support that they need. Find a good tutor or contact the school or local library for help. 5. Provide a quiet spot for kids to unwind, study and do homework that is free of distractions like toys, television or phones. Allow them take breaks periodically, but make sure that they stay on task and complete each assignment. 6. Look for the warning signs that might indicate that your child may be having difficulty in school. Changes in mood, behavior or sleep patterns might indicate that your child is dealing with a more serious problem that needs to be addressed. Ask questions if you suspect something may be going on. Most importantly, listen when they want to talk. 7. Reward kids with positive words when they do well, but don’t make them feel that they must “perform” well to earn your approval. Phrases like “You’re great” or “I’m proud of you” will boost confidence and build a positive self-image. Celebrate even the smallest achievements. 8. Familiarize yourself with your child’s teacher early in the school year. Learn his or her teaching style and communicate regularly. Address any concerns you may have regarding your child’s progress in a courteous and respectful manner. See the teacher as an ally not an enemy to your child’s success. 9. Avoid too many extracurricular activities. Ballet, piano and soccer are all great afterschool activities, but not all in one afternoon. Scheduling too many activities can be grueling- to parents and kids. Remember, kids need balance and require adequate rest of their minds and bodies. 10. Encourage kids to work hard, have fun and do their personal best. In the long run, they will thank you and will have the success to show it!

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