Have you had your first round of parent/teacher conferences this year? Whether Junior is leading his school to glory and honor, or forgetting his homework 8 days a week, here are some tips to help make this the best school year possible.
People, people, people
The people involved in the school year are what will make or break the school year. Don’t be a stranger at the school; get to know your child’s teacher, principal, school counselor. Say thank you whenever you have the opportunity – and if your child’s teacher is particularly worthy, say your thank you to the principal. Remember that your mom-in-law, spouse and of course your kids are all deeply connected to the school year. One year my kids got to go to Grandma’s once a week specifically to do their homework; it went really well for everyone as they (and Grandma!) knew that if they wanted to keep enjoying the privilege, they sure had to keep on top of their school work!
Eliminate obstacles as they come up.
This means: fix what bugs you! If little Oliver claims he can’t possibly do his homework because of xyz and it’s a legit reason, find a way to eliminate xyz from his life. (For a long time it was pencils, as mentioned here!) If backpacks get stuffed with papers but you never can find the field trip permission slip when you need it, set a weekly time to go through his backpack. We started using a VIP file system, and it has worked well.
As always when dealing with kids, anticipate them being hungry.
Brekkie, snack for at school, school lunch, and after school snack – whew! I have found that the days I stick a box of granola bars into the car, we have a much more pleasant drive home from school. Of course cookies are viewed as even better. On a hot day, bringing a cooler with bottles of cold water gives me instant Hero Mom status. (Hero Mom status lasts almost 10 minutes sometimes!)