Jul 20, 2010

Ten Tips for Ensuring a Healthy, Safe and Successful School Year

School is quickly creeping back up on us and whether we're first time school moms or moms that have had kids in school for a few years now, we want to make sure our kids are happy and healthy as they learn and grow throughout the year!  Here are ten tips to ensure that your kids are healthy, safe and successful.

1. A great healthy tip would be to make a healthy lunch that will also amuse them and make them want to eat it.  We know kids are never keen on eating healthy and always want the PB&J, Ham and Cheese sandwiches, Lunchables or they want to opt for the unhealthy options at school cafeterias.  We have been doing "Bento Boxes" around here occasionally for lunch to try to introduce healthy foods, and through my apprehension, the kids ate the healthy options I presented them because they were fun looking and amusing!  There are many resources on making Bento Boxes amusing and cute.  Google is a great place to learn about them!

2. To make homework fun, make a game out of it!!  This worked for me and also has been working for my 4 year old as we were doing some at home work to practice for school.  It has been proven that kids learn better when they're presented with information in an amusing way.  (Song, story, poem, etc...)  And it's true.  It worked for me when I was in school!   If it's information they have to memorize, make up a little song or fun poem that they can use to remember it!  Honestly, the kids will remember it for years to come. (I still remember some of the silly songs my mom used for me!)  If it's math problems or something of that sort, use quarters, dimes or nickles for every right answer!  Earning something will encourage them to actually do the work it takes to get it right rather than to just guess on the answer.

3. Set a schedule! Coming up with a special schedule for the day works perfectly.  It has been working for us since we are practicing for school.  This is our current schedule for the school year that we are going to go by. Starting from breakfast to time to leave for school to snack, dinner, homework, shower time, bed time, etc...  Put the schedule up in your kitchen in an obvious place.  You can use a dry erase board so you can alter the schedule as needed per day.

4. It's important to enroll students in after school activities.  It socializes younger children and teaches older children team work.  It can be sports, gynmastics/ballet, ice skating, art classes, community activities, church activities...  Whatever it is, it will be beneficial for your child in the future.  I have enrolled my kids in classes from a young age and they look forward to it each time they have to go!

5. If your child is bullied in school it is important to teach them self confidence and how not to listen to the bully.  I know if's very difficult to do for a child and even more hard for a parent to watch, but bullies will find a target and pick on any stupid little thing they can.  I was bullied as a child and my mom never taught me to stand up for myself and never taught me not to listen to them until I was much older.  BULLYING CAN IMPACT SCHOOL WORK NEGATIVELY.  

6.  Make your child a balanced breakfast each day.  If they eat too little, they'll be hungry before lunch time and it can distract them for their schoolwork!   As they always say -- BREAKFAST IS BRAIN FOOD.

7. Set a strict bedtime.  You don't want your kids to go to bed too late and be exhausted during the day.  Make their bedtime something very reasonable between the both of you and make bedtime a big deal!  Watch a special show together, read a special book, make it together time so your kids will look forward to it and not dread bedtime. 

8. If your kids are having a hard time learning and you know they're trying, there could be two simple problems.  First, get their eyes checked.  Not being able to see the board and accurately write down notes can be a big problem and big contributor to not doing well.  It was in my case!  I would write down what I heard the teachers saying instead of what I saw, because I couldn't see well.  Secondly, get their hearing checked.  It may be just the opposite.  They may be writing what's on the board and writing what they think they hear, but even something as simple as clogged ears can cause a problem!  

9.  After school, it's important that your child doesn't just sit in front of the TV, Computer or video games.  Get them out for a few hours! Take them to the park, let them run around in the yard or with friends.  Exercise is essential for MANY reasons and most kids don't get enough exercise.  Especially after school.

10. Make sure they're safe getting to school!  If they're riding a bus, walk them to the bus stop or keep an eye on them out the window.  For smaller children, walk them onto the bus until they're seated, if you can.  If they walk to school, walk with your child! Get some exercise as well!  If they're getting picked up by a friend's parents, watch that they get in the car with the appropriate person.  Also, teach your children the basics of not talking to strangers, not getting in cars with strangers, etc...  Safety is vital~

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Airwear blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, visit http://airwear.twittermoms.com/about