The school supplies have been purchased, orientations attended, and bed times have been established – the new school year is well underway! Most parents have started settling into the routine for the fall, but how are your children adjusting? Don’t assume that no news is good news. Specific probing statements and questions such as, “Tell me about your teacher” or “What subject do you think you might struggle the most with this year?” can help your child to open up. Red Apple Reading has some tips for helping your child navigate issues with friends, teachers, and homework.
Friends – One of the perks of going back to school is hanging out with friends. While these interactions may normally be positive, sometimes they can become stressful. If your kiddo seems to be having friend drama, try the following:
- Don’t Panic – Very often kids tend to work these things out themselves. Unless your child seems to be more upset than normal, resist the urge to jump in too quickly.
- Try Something New – If your child seems to be having trouble making friends or her current friends are (ahem) less than desirable, encourage her to join some extracurricular activities. New activities will provide new acquaintances your child might not otherwise run into.
- Host – Have your child’s friends over to your house periodically. This way you can observe firsthand any personality conflicts and perhaps offer a bit of guidance when issues arise.
Teachers – Every parent of school-age children knows the stress of waiting to discover who their child’s teacher will be for the new school year. Teachers spend several hours each day with our children and have a profound impact on their school experience. How should parents address issues with teachers?
- Get to Know the Teacher – Don’t depend on hearsay from other parents or your child’s interpretation of events when forming an opinion of their teacher. Make an effort to get to know the teacher yourself. Ask if there is any way you can help her over the course of the school year. She’ll appreciate the help and you will be able to see how she interacts with the children and get to know the atmosphere of the classroom.
- Frame Concerns Diplomatically – Be diplomatic when addressing concerns with your little one’s teacher. Remember that you and your child will be interacting with this person for the remainder of the school year – you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot. For instance, if your child seems to be intimidated by the way his teacher speaks to him, you could say, “Billy may seem closed off at times; we’ve found that he responds best to clear instructions delivered with a smile!”
- Use Administration as a Last Resort – Most problems involving teachers can be easily resolved. However, if you have tried your best to deal with the situation in a courteous, understanding way without resolution, it may be time to speak to a principal. You are your child’s advocate and certainly have the right to address issues that concern your child’s well-being.
Homework – The older our children get, the more potential there is for problems with homework. Try employing some of the following strategies when you run into homework trouble!
- Use the Internet – Is there anything that strikes more fear into the heart of a parent than when he’s asked to assist his 3rd grader with math homework? (Did you know they don’t carry the one anymore when doing multiplication?!) Don’t despair! A quick perusal of the internet can give you the much needed tutorial you need to be able to assist your kiddo with his homework.
- Talk with the Teacher – If your kiddo is struggling with a particular subject, contact his teacher sooner rather than later. It is much better to get on top of the problem right away than to wait until your child has fallen far behind. Most teachers are happy to provide parents with resources and ideas to help them get their kid back on track! You may also want to check the teacher’s web page. Many instructors provide helpful resources that are only a click away!
Don’t let beginning of the year problems get you and your little one down. Most issues can be resolved with the support of a loving, involved parent. Here’s wishing your child a fantastic school year!
Summer vacation is over for most and the new school year is here. It’s time for back- to- school shopping (if you haven’t already)! If shopping for school supplies isn’t at the top of your list of fun things to do, take heart! There are a lot of nifty back to school supplies waiting to cheer you (and your little one) up and make going back to school more exciting! We have great finds for the eco-friendly, the tech-savvy, the trendy and the fun-loving!
- Kids’ Deluxe Book Pack – Made of weatherproof durable material, these classic backpacks will stand up to the toughest wear. (L.L. Bean $15 – $39.95)
- Mackenzie Lunch Bags – These lunch boxes come in all kinds of cute designs. Kids will love the look and parents will love the quality! Interior is easy to clean and made of environmentally safe materials. (Pottery Barn $15 – $29.50)
- LEGO School Supplies – If your little one loves LEGOS, he is sure to go crazy over these cool supplies for school. LEGO stationary supplies (pencils, pens, markers, erasers, etc.) snap into the nifty pencil case. (Target $5.99-$39.99)
- Shopkins Pencils – Shopkins are all the craze right now! If your child can’t get enough of these cuties, then you need to make sure she has these pencils in her book bag. (Walmart 8 Pk. $2.49)
- Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils – Kids will love these vibrant colored pencils. They come pre-sharpened and have erasers! (Walmart 24 pk. $5.97)
- Bethany Mota Color Your Own Notebooks – If your kiddo enjoys coloring let her customize her own notebook! The matte cover of these composition and spiral notebooks has cool patterns for coloring. (Target $2.99)
- Yoobi Mini Highlighters – These mini highlighters are perfect for school notes. They’re small enough to fit easily in a purse or backpack and the colors are nice and vibrant! For every Yoobi item purchased, one item will be donated to a classroom in need in the U.S. (Target $4.99)
- Emtec Flash Drives – Preteens and teenagers will enjoy these flash drives! With designs ranging from DC Comics to Peanuts characters, your child is sure to find one that fits his personality. (Office Depot/Office Maxx $7.99 – $16.99)
- Post-it Flag Combo Pack – This nice combination of 1/2” to 1” Post-it flags are ideal for color-coding, indexing, and drawing attention to important notes. A nice variety of eye-catching bold colors. (Staples 320 pk.$10)
- Just Solutions Sort It Locker Organizer – Does your kid need a little help in the neatness department? If so, this locker organizer will do the trick. It has a built in mirror as well as places to store accessories. Strong rare earth magnets hold the organizer in place. Great for dorm rooms and refrigerators too! (Walmart $29.99)
Load up the kiddos and take care of your back to school shopping today! We’re sure they will love the items on this list as much as we do. Who knows? Maybe gathering supplies for the new school year will help generate some excitement about returning to school!
Summer break is almost over! Some school children have another month of vacation to enjoy, and many students are heading back to the classroom in the next few weeks. While returning to a structured routine is appealing, beginning a new year can be stressful for both kids and parents! Red Apple Reading has a few tips to help your family get the school year off to a positive start.
A Week Before:
- Book Bag Deposit – Strategically placed wall hangers, cubbies, or baskets ensure that kids can quickly locate their back packs and books.
- Homework Headquarters – Prepare a place for kids to work. A quiet work space stocked with pencils, pens, and paper, is a must for successful homework completion!
- Parent Papers – We all know how hard it is to keep track of all those notes, calendars, and lunch menus that go home daily. Purchase a paper tray to keep all those pieces of paper tidy and handy. When kids empty their book bags, papers for home go immediately in the tray!
- Time to Talk – One of the most important things parents can do to help their little ones get off on the right foot is to talk with them about the upcoming year. A simple conversation can reveal your child’s fears, hopes, and expectations. So before classes start take your kiddo out for an ice cream and discuss the approaching school year.
The Night Before:
- Fuss Free Wardrobe – Avoid morning drama over clothing. Have your child choose his outfit and lay it out the night before. Make sure clothing complies with the school dress code.
- Packed and Ready – Make certain book bags are packed with completed homework and other papers that have to be returned.
- Reasonable Bed Time – One of the most effective ways to improve your child’s school experience is by ensuring she gets adequate sleep each night. The National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute recommends that preschoolers get 11-12 hours of sleep per night; while school age children require at least 10 hours, and teens need 9-10 hours.
The Morning of the First Day:
- Time to Go– Make sure your kiddo has plenty of time to get ready in the morning. A mad, morning rush almost guarantees that you will be sending a disgruntled child off to school. Some kids move slowly in the morning and others hit the ground running. Plan your morning accordingly!
- Breakfast Boost – Be sure to incorporate a healthy breakfast into your morning schedule. A full tummy will help your little one concentrate and give her the energy she needs to tackle the day! Many schools offer breakfast before classes begin each morning. Often these meals are free or reduced depending on your household income. Ask your school administration for details!
We can’t be in complete control over how our child’s first day of school unfolds, but we can implement a few strategies to help make the transition smoother. We hope your kiddos have an enjoyable first day of school this year!
Speaking of back to school, for a limited time you can get the complete Red Apple Reading Program for up to 40% off with our back to school special. If you want to learn more about helping your child become a successful reader with serious learning that’s seriously fun, visit our website for a free trial today!
Believe it or not, the start of school is just around the corner, if not already in session in some parts of the country! As a mother of four, I have to admit that I’m ready to see my kiddos walking out the door with their backpacks on! Whether you are looking forward to the beginning of school or wishing you had another month, it’s time to start transitioning into school mode. Check out these eight suggestions for helping your child (and you) transition smoothly into a new school year.
- Bedtime – At least one week before school starts, begin having the kids observe their normal school bedtime. It takes a while for a body to adjust to a new schedule and you want to be sure your little ones are well rested for their first day!
School Supplies – This is the time to purchase those much needed school supplies for the coming year. Fortunately, many stores have marked down their prices for school items in anticipation of the fall semester. So gather those supply lists and hit the stores!
Immunizations – Before the first day of class, check with your child’s school and make sure there are no immunization requirements to meet before enrolling. Visit the Centers for Disease Control website to view their immunization schedule for children.
School Clothes – Make certain your kiddo is properly outfitted for the coming school season. Check to see that clothes and shoes still fit properly and don’t have holes or huge stains. Remember to keep your child’s school dress code in mind if you need to shop for new clothes.
Lunch Plan – If your kiddo takes her lunch to school, discuss in advance what types of food she would like to have in her lunchbox. This will help prevent school morning melt downs when your daughter wants turkey instead of bologna on her sandwich! Also remember that many schools prohibit nuts due to student allergies.
Talk – How does your little one feel about the approach of a new school year? Take time to discuss any fears and answer any questions your kiddo may have about the upcoming year. A little chat can go a long way in alleviating back to school stress!
Cut Back Screen Time – It is not uncommon by the end of the summer for all those good intentions of limiting screen time for the kids to fizzle out. So, if your kids have become accustomed to extended periods interacting with electronics, start cutting back now so they will be ready to face the reality of a structured school day.
Mark Your Calendar – As the first day of school approaches we start getting information about orientations, schedule pick-ups, and parent meetings. And these events are multiplied according to the number of school aged children you have. Be certain to mark your calendar with all the back to school events your family must attend to ensure a smooth transition to the school year.
The beginning of a new school season can be stressful. With a little forethought and effort you can smooth the transition for your child and start the school year off on the right foot. Red Apple Reading wishes you and your kiddos a great school year!
How do you know if your child is ready to handle the rigors of the elementary school world? While I’m not a teacher, I am a mother of four children (the youngest of whom will be entering kindergarten in the fall) and I’ve learned a few things along the way. One of the many lessons I’ve learned (and I admit this was at the expense of my older kids) is how to help children prepare for kindergarten. It might surprise you to learn that not all my tips are academic – sometimes good old-fashioned life skills are what will help your kiddo most when he’s away from you during the day. Peruse this checklist of items to see what you can be working on with your little one before the first day of the school year.
- Tie Shoes – Alright, I have to admit right off the bat that my rising kindergartner cannot tie his own shoes. But thanks to the wonderful invention of Velcro I can buy myself another year (OK, who am I kidding – two years)!
- Recognize Letters – When we started kindergarten, part of what our parents expected us to be taught was our letters. These days (whether you think it’s for better or worse) kindergarten is a bit more fast paced. Your kiddo will feel more on top of things if she can already recognize her letters beforehand.
- Button Pants – If you’re a parent you probably don’t even realize that you still help your child button his pants. It’s just part of the routine: find the car keys, grab the briefcase, button little Billy’s pants, get in the car and roll. But trust me, your child’s teacher doesn’t have the time or patience to button twenty pairs of pants a day! Do her a favor and teach your kiddo this skill beforehand.
- Write Name – At the end of each school day you will find a wad of papers stuffed in the bottom of your child’s backpack. He will be expected to write his name (albeit not perfectly) on every one of those take home papers. Have your kiddo practice writing his name before sending him to kindergarten.
- Open Ketchup Packets – Again, although your kid’s teacher is probably the model of placidity, she will not be feeling very patient after the twelfth kid asks her to open his ketchup packet. Take the family out to McDonald’s and add a lesson in opening ketchup packets to your order.
- Recognize Numbers – Can your little one count to twenty and recognize the numbers 1-10? If not, brush up a bit on her number game before school begins.
- Recognize Colors – Most children learn their colors along the way as they navigate through life. Your little one most likely has already picked up this skill. If not, get out a box of basic Crayola’s and review red, orange, blue, yellow, green, purple, black, brown, and white. Recognition of indigo not required!
- Know Shapes – A knowledge of the basic shapes will be helpful to your little one as she begins kindergarten. No need to get out the geometry book and master octagons and hexagons. A simple review of circles, squares, and rectangles will suffice!
- Hold Scissors – If you’ve ever witnessed a child using scissors for the first time you know how incredibly awkward it looks. Using scissors properly takes a lot of practice. Find some scrap paper and blunt scissors and let your kiddo cut until his heart is content!
- Social Give and Take – No one expects kindergarteners to navigate social situations perfectly. However, a basic knowledge of sharing, compromising, and speaking kindly will go a long way in helping your kid be successful in kindergarten.
Oh yeah! Another important skill I’ve learned in my career as a mom of students: don’t sweat it! If your kiddo is a bit behind in some area, he will most likely catch up. So relax and enjoy the ride! They are only little for a short time. Take it from me, before you know it you will be handing them the car keys and telling them to be careful!