Kick off the School Year on the Right Foot

School is in session and it's important for parents to get organized and establish routines for kids and to some degree for themselves. There will be many school related paper work to fill out and information parents have to stay on top of. There are teacher parent contact forms, medical forms, sports permission forms, field trip slips, after school clubs and programs detail, home school association announcements, and donation requests to the school.

Establishing routines early on in the school year can yield productive results for your child and lessen the stress around the household. Good practiced routines can help your child get on the track to a good school year.

Rules for Technology Devices

The use of technology in the classroom and at home has increased dramatically over the last few years. Assignments and homework may require of use of personal computers, laptops, chromebooks, ipads, or other computer devices. Often times the student will need to do research or look for information electronically. Set parent controls on your devices so that children do not accidentally click on inappropriate websites. Parents should take the time to review the settings on all web browsers, email, and any websites your child may access on a frequent basis.

Make sure virus protection is always on your computers. Never surf without it. Be aware of phishing sites, pop up links, potential hacking, or unwanted virus intrusions. Since most computers and laptops these days have a camera mounted on the device, place a piece of post-it or tape over the camera for any unwanted potential stranger access.

If the student is using a public computer, say at the public library, remind him/her not to save any ids or passwords.

Monitor Use of Cell Phones

Cell phones seem to be in the hand of students younger and younger as the years go by. What do you do if your child begs for a cell phone? Do you give in? Well, it can depend on the age and maturity of the child and the purpose of the mobile phone. There is no right age but the average these days is when the child is in middle school.

Having a cell phone is a privilege. For kids and teens that have phones, establish rules for when phones must be put away for the night and how much time they can be on the phone during the school day. Be firm and hold your ground. You don't want your children to be on YouTube for hours after school.

Doing Homework

Kids have to get back into the routine of doing homework. Parents should establish an area of the house with an uncluttered desk, comfortable chair, and good lighting for your child to do homework. All homework and assignments should be completed before any free time activities such as watching TV or playing games can be given.

Ask the child if he/she is having difficulty with doing the homework. If the child does not understand the subject matter and the parent cannot help and both parties are frustrated, it may be time for some outside help or tutoring service (budget permitting). Otherwise, ask the child's teacher for extra help. Some schools offer free tutoring services after school.

Enforce Bedtime

School age children need an average of 9-11 hours of sleep. Kids have to get into the habit of going to bed at a certain time each school night so that they can wake up the next day at the same time. Doing so will make the child relaxed, refreshed and able to learn in the classroom. Preschool and kindergarten children may take a brief nap in school but overall they need about 10-13 hours of sleep. Enforcing a routine bedtime for them will enable them to be adjusted to the full rigors of lasting a full day of school.

Teenagers may balk at going to bed at a set time but they still need about 8-10 hours of sleep each day. Parents should still encourage them to get enough sleep. Have them get organized and to finish homework in a timely manner so they don't have to stay up all night trying to do so. You don't want them to be grumpy and walk the school halls like zombies.

Organization is Key

A successful student is an organized student. If you teach your child organization skills at a young age, it can transcend throughout his/her academic career.

Some examples: Pick out clothes the night before school so your child knows what to wear. Have your child review assignments and any instructions to make sure they are done correctly. Have all your school supplies readily accessible on the desk or work space area. Have your child keep his/her backpack in the same central location so it can be found at all times and pack it the night before.

Organization is not easy for but it's a habit that can be learned if you put in the work. It's never too late to get organized.