We know how busy you are. So once a month we'll pick one topic to highlight and offer some tips and ideas for you to explore. We hope that these In Focus features will help you get organized, find new resources, and make your work-life juggling act go a bit more smoothly.
This month, Work It, Mom! focuses on back-to-school basics to help your kids -- and you -- start the school year off right.
1.) Get physical: Most schools require a physical exam in order for kids to participate in school activities like gym class, so set up an appointment with the pediatrician sooner rather than later (and get your child's eyes checked while you're at it). Does your child play sports after school? Check his or her equipment, make sure it all fits and is safe to use, and update or replace items before practice starts.
2.) Get organized: Sure, you stocked up on paper and pencils, but how about a new calendar for the kitchen? A filing system for your kids’ paperwork? A place for them to dump their backpacks when they get home? A roster of easy-to-prepare lunch items that your kid can pack into her cool, new lunch box by herself? A back-up transportation plan in place for the times when you’re caught in traffic or have to handle an emergency elsewhere?
To help you get organized, check out our picks for:
3.) Get motivated: You may be psyched that summer is over, but your kids probably aren't. Now's the time to help them get excited about getting back into the swing of things. Is there a subject that your child finds especially difficult? Make a game out of learning with some of the low-cost or free online teaching tools out there -- we like SpellingCity.com, FunBrain, and the Between the Lions games at PBSkids.
4.) Get talking: Make sure you review the rules -- for school and for home -- with your kids. Have there been any changes to the school’s guidelines? How does homework get handled? What's the after-school routine this year? Can your preschooler bring a toy for naptime? Can your teenager go out on a school night? You can’t expect a kid to follow a rule he isn’t aware of or doesn’t understand, and it’s a good idea to make sure that you child's take on the rules match up with yours.
5.) Get involved: Does your child have new teachers this year? Take a moment to meet them before school starts. If you have something you’d like to discuss, what’s the best way to reach them -- via phone, email, or a short note in your child’s notebook? Does your child have any special needs or an IEP of which the teacher should be aware?