I find myself surprisingly? Ready? For the school year to begin.
Ready for a set schedule, ready for an increased focus on academics for my daughter, and even ready for the morning rush that helps us get out the door and on with our day at a proper time. But I’ve also discovered a few important ‘ingredients’ to avoid unnecessary stress and allow for family fun and even academic success along the way.
First, provide free time for creative expression. This time should be free of distractions such as T.V., video games and computer. Supporting your child in this way helps in numerous ways such as stress relief, fine motor, intellectual, and social-emotional development, and creative thinking. Children need to learn how to think for themselves and have opportunities to problem solve.
Creative experiences expand children’s understanding of the world around them. For example, it would be impossible to do art activities without using the principles of math and science. The richest creative experiences for children usually begin from an interest of their own and are open-ended, meaning there is no right or wrong way of completing a project.
Next, stick to a schedule that allows children to know what is expected of them and a routine that helps everything run smoothly. Wake up in plenty of time for children to not feel rushed as they eat a nutritious but simple breakfast and dress from the clothes that were agreed upon and laid out the night before.
Evening schedules also need to be consistent with lots of time to wind down from a busy day. Make sure all items are set out and packed in backpacks for the next day. Also, make time for snuggling and reading together. This makes for excellent one-on-one time that can easily get missed during a hectic day.
Finally, mix it up a little by staying active as a family. Physical activity is as important as eating nutritiously and getting enough sleep. Exercise is critical to brain development and helps us sustain our attention; two very important factors in school.
Whether you are searching for ways to keep the fun in the school year for your children or just looking for ways to stay afloat in your already busy life, remember to provide free time with creative opportunities, use routines to help your days flow smoothly, and don’t forget the need to stay active.
Here’s wishing everyone a happy and successful school year!