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!

International Day at Emmett's School

On Friday night my family went to International Night at my son's school - this was sort of a glorified potluck dinner for the whole school with dishes from all over the world and a music performance. Because we live in Battery Park City (at the tip of Manhattan) which has a very international population to begin with, there were at least 10 countries represented. The fact that Emmett goes to school with kids from Korea, India, Australia and China is one of the things I love about his school. Even though Emmett is in one of his "picky eater' phases (OK it's more than a phase) where anything that isn't fish sticks, white meat chicken, pasta, yellow pepper or pizza meets with a resounding "no thank you!" I was happy we could share this international experience. His little brother Adrian was slightly more experimental, taking a crack at some chick peas with yellow rice.

The kids, who helped organize the evening, (along with a parent volunteer committee) drew colorful maps of each continent which hung on the walls, and the food was grouped by region. That way, as you went down the buffet line you could sample empanadas from Spain, fried ravioli from Italy and then move on to Samosas from India and sushi from Japan. Each dish was numbered so we could vote for our favorite one at the end.

We had a great time and it was a fun way to bring some of these countries my kids have not had much experience with to life through the foods they eat (we've been doing a lot of spinning our globe lately and learning about where it lands). There were also signs up all over teaching kids how to say "hello" in a variety of languages! Of course I loved that! All that was missing was Little Pim himself.

Does your child's school or daycare have an "international night" or activity? if it did, would you attend?