back to school

Helping Your Kids Transition from Summer to School

Summer flew by faster than most of us expected and getting back to our school day routines can actually be exciting for parents. In order to make a smooth transition from vacation mode to strict schedules, we've put together a list of tips to make this as easy as possible. Good luck and happy parenting!

1. Sleep Schedules

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You may not hear it often but it's time to get back to your old habits! It is important to start getting the kids to bed at a reasonable hour at least two weeks before school begins. This way they will be well adjusted and rested when the first day of school rolls around. Setting morning alarms can also be helpful for those of us that like to sleep in.

2. Adjust Your Eating Habits

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Time to get healthy again! We all know that summertime causes our shelves and refrigerators to become full of unhealthy snacks like ice cream and chips. It's time to get your kids back on track. Plan quick and healthy meals that meet their school lunch schedule.

3. Establish a Learning Environment

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In case you got carried away like the rest of us, now is your chance to get crafty with your kids at home! Set up a well-lit, quiet study area and make sure your kids become comfortable with the space. Whether it's by using your Little Pim flashcards or simply drawing with a pen and paper, make sure you set aside some time for your children to adapt to a learning environment.

4. Rekindle Friendships

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Children can sometimes be worried about finding friends at school. Schedule play dates with parents and friends that you may have lost touch with over the summer. This way your kids can feel more confident and comfortable in the classroom.

5. Motivate your kids

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School is fun and it's important that your kids know! Talking about school will make your kids more confident and encouraged to do their best. Ask questions like: "What are your favorite subjects at school?" "What are your goals this year?" Setting goals is the first step to reaching them.

5 Back-To-School Stress-Relief Tips for Busy Parents

Back-to-school can be a stressful time for parents. Between homework, routine changes and the difficulty of parting with your child for the day, it's not easy dealing with the back-to-school bustle. In honor of busy parents facing the new school year, we've put together some stress-relief tips and tricks to help calm you down and get your school year off to the right start.

1. Prepare the night before.

Planning ahead is the best way to avoid the morning time crunch. Packing your child a lunch or snack the night before can save some early-morning headaches. Lay out the cereals, muffins or anything else you need to make breakfast the night before so it's ready to grab and go. Help your child pick out his or her outfit in advance so there's nothing to worry about in the morning.

2. Get a massage.

Don't think of a massage as an indulgence--think of it as something that'll help you manage your stress so you'll have more time, energy and smiles for your little ones. You can also do self-massage--or perhaps persuade your little one to give you a nice foot rub in exchange for a treat.

3. Do stress-relief exercises and stretches.

Modern parents are particularly susceptible to shoulder and neck pain because so many of us work in front of a computer for most of the day. In addition, breastfeeding, stress, sports, and carrying a heavy baby bag or purse can also contribute to pain in this area. Check out some of these great tips from Stress Free Mama, or try some of these stress-busting yoga poses perfect for busy parents, even if you have no yoga experience.

4. Have some fun with the kids.

You can still relieve your stress even while hanging out with the kids. Dance to some fun multicultural beats, cook up a global-inspired meal or sit down together and read one one of these famous children's books from around the world.

5. Don't try to be SuperMom or SuperDad. No parent is perfect. We're all going to mess up, be late or forget to do something for our children on occasion. Learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes and use the experience to figure out how you can be better next time.

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New School Year Resolutions: 5 Smart Ways to Start the School Year

September is the time to make New Year’s resolutions, new year of school resolutions that is. You’re starting with a clean slate, literally, so jump on the chance to start the semester off right with our 5 tips to a more productive year.

  1. Routine Rules – Kids thrive on routine--- knowing when to get up, what time to do homework, when dinner is-- helps them build a schedule that gets them through their day with ease. Be sure to include reading with your children (including looking at pictures and talking about them) as part of your routine. Children learn more vocabulary and do better in school when their parents read with them regularly (US Department of Education).
  2. Resolve to Learn a Foreign Language – It’s never too early to start teaching children a second language. Not only is it easier for babies and preschoolers to master accents and absorb foreign languages, but later in life, multilingual adults “are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas” (Time Magazine).
  3. Choose to win – With as many activities as there are Legos in a bin, the choice of how to spend after-school time can become overwhelming – when you’re stuck, childhood experts say choose quality over quantity: Limit young children to one or two after school classes a week, and choose what will make the most impact down the line and give your child the best start in life, such as a language they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.
  4. Get More Zzzzzs – The National Sleep Foundation recommends a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every night for grade schoolers, 11 hours for preschoolers, and 12 hours for 1 to 3 year olds. Plus, studies show that children who have consistent bed times scored better on cognitive tests throughout grade school. The old adage about “early to bed” making you “wise” really was right!
  5. Accentuate the positive – When you talk about school, make sure to make it sound like a treat --- a special place where kids get to make new friends, have fun new experiences, and learn amazing new things – and they’ll think of it that way, too!