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Starting the new school year is often challenging for both parents and children.  A little thoughtful planning can help. This blog offers a few suggestions to try to make beginning the new school year more fun.

1. Let’s play!
Play a few games, particularly ones that will help your kids review content they learned the previous year. Playing games will serve three purposes. Kids can review skills and feel confident about what they already know. They can also begin to anticipate learning new material. Game play also stimulates thinking and gets those brain cells working again.

2. We’re all in this together!
Set goals for the year as a family.  Share your ideas and say how you will support each other in meeting these goals.

3. I don’t want to go to bed!
Changing back to a regular routine after the freedom of summer and long days is hard. Involve your kids in negotiating a new schedule and figuring out how to keep it. Let them help determine the study time, free time and bedtime (with you setting the outside limits)..

4. I don’t want to get up!
Getting up and getting going is tough, especially when you haven’t had to do that for a while. To encourage independence and avoid conflict help your kids plan ahead.  The more your kids are involved in planning, organizing, and preparing what they want, the fewer battles there will be and the more self-sufficient the child will become.

5. I don’t want to study!
Let your child plan a creative study space with storage for books, papers, and work materials. Let him or her pick fun wrapping paper or contact paper to wrap boxes for cubbies or storage boxes. Look for great ideas online for making a fun space. Making their own space will encourage children to want to actually use it! Don’t forget to include some games for study breaks.

6. Read, read, read!
Hopefully, reading did not stop over the summer, but it often takes a backseat to outdoor play and late nights. Re-institute nightly reading before bed, sharing a book, or, for older children, letting them read before falling asleep. Reading every day is one of the most important things we can do, and that includes you, parents! You are the best model for your child.

7. It’s gonna be great!
Kids pick up on parents’ feelings, attitudes, and beliefs. If you are anxious, dreading the new school year, and moaning about what you need to do for them, they will feel negative too. So make every part of getting ready for school an adventure. Make every “task” playful, from shopping to organizing to scheduling. Involve the kids as much as you can in every activity so they feel ownership. If you relax and have fun, so will they!

About the Author

Dr. Toni Linder is Professor Emeritus at the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver in Denver, CO. She is nationally and internationally known for her work on behalf of young children and their families.

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