As summer comes to an end, kids are getting ready to head back to school for another year of learning and growing. It’s an exciting, and sometimes stressful, season for parents and children alike. Groggy mornings full of tension due to unfinished homework, searching for missing shoes and backpacks and rushing to gobble a few bites of breakfast before the bus comes make for a tough day. After school there are a plethora of distractions from siblings, the television and video games.
All these things take their toll on the family and make the school year seem longer than it is. It doesn’t have to be that way, though, here are five things you can do in your Central Valley home to keep everything running smoothly.
Organize School Clothes
Whether you buy your kids a whole new wardrobe, or only a few items, don’t just add them to their closet and dresser. Now is the perfect time to sort out what they can wear again from what they have outgrown, or simply won’t wear. Shoes, old backpacks, jackets, coats, clothing, they’re all things that other children in the area could use. You could donate unwanted items, offer them for sale on social media, an online classified site, or have a back-to-school garage sale. Either way, you’ll help other families and maybe even put a little cash in your pocket as well.
Create Study Areas
Kids need a quiet, comfortable place to do their homework and study. Although the dining room table might seem like a good spot, in most homes, it’s in the middle of the action. A better solution would be a desk that’s stocked with all the necessary tools, such as pencils, paper, erasers, rulers, etc. A desktop or laptop computer that has parental controls to keep kids from wandering off track is also a good idea. A comfortable chair and desk light and a spot for someone else to sit help round off the study area. Schedule specific times for homework and studying, during which distractions are minimized.
Use Check-Lists and Calendars
School days are busy, for kids and parents. Between working and keeping up with school activities, papers that need to be signed, parent teacher conferences and homework, it’s easy to get frazzled. One way to assure your kids all have what they need each day is to create a checklist. Before bedtime, line up the backpacks and place necessary items inside and check them off, that way you know everything is ready to go in the morning. A monthly calendar, placed in a prominent spot, with space to write in each day is also a valuable tool that will help you remember important dates. Printable checklists and calendars are readily available, or you can make your own.
Stock Healthy Snacks
You can be sure that your kids are going to come home from school hungry. After all, they expend a lot of energy during the day. Sugary, processed foods like candy and cookies are not the best option for them. The same holds true for potato chips, cheese puffs and other salty snacks. Although they taste good, there’s very little nutritional value. Opt instead for nutritious snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, wholegrain breads and organic foods. Your kids will get the energy boost they need, but they won’t be getting all the high fructose corn sugar, sodium and chemicals that packaged snacks contain.
Encourage Restful Sleep
Kids need a good night’s sleep in order to perform to their maximum potential, just like adults do. The biggest difference is, they need more sleep than an adult, varying between 9 and 11 hours per night. Getting them into bed and ready to go to sleep can be a daunting task, even for the most patient parents. However, a warm bath or shower, lowered lighting, and a quiet atmosphere will certainly help. Turn off video games, television, and music an hour before bedtime and encouraging quiet activities. Light blocking window treatments in the bedroom will also help them fall asleep quicker.
No matter what age your children are, whether they’re starting school for the first time this year, or they’re a senior in high school, they deserve the best. Come back to our blog at San Joaquin Valley Homes every week on Mondays for more ideas about home, lifestyle and family.