And we’re off! It always amazes me how quickly our school community comes together. After all the school supply shopping is done, the summer work assignments are complete, and students have met their new teachers and greeted friends, old and new — the balloons come off the fence, the Welcome Back banner is folded and put away, and we’re back together again as a school family, never missing a beat. Not even an emergency evacuation from 707 Washington Street just two hours into the first day of school could stand in the way of our community coming together. I am proud of the way everyone did what they were supposed to do. As one First Grader was overheard saying during the evacuation, “This is why we have practice drills!”
Practice goes a long way toward establishing routines, and there is no better time than the start of a new school year to make some intentional decisions about how family time will be spent and study spaces will be used in the home. One of the best ways you can help your child have a successful school year is to establish meaningful routines now.
Not all children and families are the same, so no one routine will be right for everyone. Maybe your child comes home right after dismissal and gets down to the business of doing homework, or maybe your child needs a snack and some down time before settling in to take care of personal responsibilities. Maybe your child goes to after care and comes home just in time for dinner, and you can’t get around to checking that homework was complete until just before bed time. Whatever routine is right for you, discuss it, agree to it, and get it established by being consistent.
How about all those extra-curricular activities? How and where do they fit in? How much is too much? These decisions, too, will depend on a given family’s needs and a child’s interests and stamina, so there is no magic answer here either. However, paying attention and talking with your child is a great way to start. Ask yourself honestly whether the classes and activities you’ve signed your child up for are things he/she is really interested in, or whether you’re signing up because everyone else is. It’s hard to resist what can feel like tremendous peer pressure and do what is best for your child.