Manic: School started!
Managed: This year I want to avoid becoming run-down because I let myself get overwhelmed with our busy calendar. So, I asked our managedmoms.com writer and school teacher, Lisa Walton for some advice. She came up with a helpful top 10 list of things we parents can do to have a smoother school year. So to get a teacher’s perspective (and she is also a busy mom), read on and make it a great school year!
It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again! It’s back to setting the alarm, packing lunches, dealing with homework, and trying to schedule after school activities. While some parents may be thrilled it’s finally here, others lament that summer flew by so quickly. Either way, parents want to do what’s best to make the school year start off on the right foot. Here are some suggestions on how you, as a parent, can do your part.
- Stay Tuned In – Read information sent home by your child’s teacher. Teachers are often asked questions about information that was addressed in newsletters, flyers and emails. Become familiar with school curriculum, policies and procedures. Be sure to consistently check out the school and/or class website.
- Be Organized –Buy a large wall calendar to mark the many conferences, carpool responsibilities and extra-curricular activities that fill your family’s schedule. Use a different color for each family member’s activities, and hang the calendar in a very visible spot so everyone knows what’s happening. Have an in/out box for all the important paperwork that you need to fill out and return to school–medical forms, emergency cards, book orders, permission slips, etc. Deposit all the papers, artwork and other keepsakes that come home each day into a folder, binder or “treasure box.”
- Be Responsible – Respond promptly to requests for your signature. Send lunch money, field trip money, etc. in a timely manner. Teachers spend precious time sending home reminders about this and more. Make it a habit to check with your child daily for notes and information from school. Check daily homework agendas/planners and keep track of upcoming projects. Attend parent/teacher/student conferences and curriculum nights. Don’t over-schedule your child with extra-curricular activities; make school and sufficient sleep a priority.
- Be a Role Model – Demonstrate the importance of following school rules and procedures. Make sure your child gets to school on time and is picked up on time. Look for opportunities to meet all the adults your child will encounter at school.
- Be Supportive– Join PTO and attend meetings or come to school events. Offer to volunteer. Even if you are unable to go on field trips or volunteer during the day, you may be able to help in other ways, even from your own home. Just ask!
- Be Reasonable – If you need to meet with the teacher, send an email or note requesting a meeting. Teachers aren’t able to have quick unscheduled conferences in the hallway during school or before/after school at parent pick up/drop off. Follow school guidelines, if your child is sick, keep him home from school.
- Encourage Good Homework Habits-Have your child understand the importance of completing homework assignments in a timely manner. Offer encouragement, and assist only as needed, making sure the final product is a reflection of your child’s effort, not yours. When parents provide structure and guidance and then allow their children to learn from their mistakes as well as their successes, it shows they care. Have your child read each night, or read together with them. Have books and magazines available about topics they enjoy.
- Keep the Teacher Informed – Send a note or talk to your child’s teacher about issues that may affect your child’s performance at school. If your child is dealing with grief, divorce, anxiety about an upcoming event, it is good to share this information. Make sure the teacher knows about health issues such as asthma or allergies. Provide information on what procedures you follow in the event
of an allergic reaction.
- Encourage Healthy Habits – Whether your child brings snacks or a lunch or buys a school lunch, keep the emphasis on good nutrition and healthy choices. Encourage your child to spend time being physically active through play or sports. Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Remind children about the importance of hand washing and not spreading germs.
- Say Thank You – Teachers strive to inspire students to be lifelong learners. They often make the work they do look effortless, but it requires a lot of work and countless hours of planning to do what they do. Let them know you appreciate them.
Lisa Walton–Parenting tips
Valley Teacher and Mother
Lisa Walton has been a teacher in the Valley for over 18 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Deaf Education from Illinois State University; and Master’s Degree in Special Education from Arizona State University. She currently works as an itinerant teacher, collaborating with regular education teachers in the public schools.