Plan. Plan. Plan.

Because August and September are school-starting months, in these months our posts will focus on things you can do to help your child get a good start at school this year.
  • Make a morning plan. Ask your child in what order he will do things (dress, eat, etc.). Make sure your child has his own alarm for getting up in the morning, if he is old enough.  Agree ahead of time about what you will do to get him up, if he doesn’t get up with the alarm. (Will you come into his room? How many times?) Make a plan that is for each child individually. Make a poster that describes the plan.  Use pictures for a young child.
  • Have your breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack planned ahead of time. For breakfast, choose things that don’t require too much effort – things that can be frozen ahead and thawed out overnight or microwaved in the morning.  (An egg can be fried solid (no liquid yolk), refrigerated, and turned into an egg sandwich in the morning.  Fast food restaurants do it all the time.) Agree on what will go with the child for lunch. Food or money?  If food, what food?  Come to an agreement about what the child will eat. Give choices while planning, but not too many choices. Have after-school snacks ready.  For a young child, make it something immediate without much preparation. If you won’t be at home, make sure things are available and that everybody knows (child and caregiver) what foods are allowed.
  • Plan for some physical activity in the afternoon or evening of school days. When your child has had physical activity after school on one day, pay attention to whether she sleeps better and has more energy getting ready for school the next morning.
  • Plan how after-school time will go. Explain the plan to your child. Make a poster that describes the plan. Use pictures for a young child. For an older child, involve her in the plan. Let your child know how he will get home and at what time she is expected is to be home. Talk about what activities she can do after school and with whom she can be with. Make sure your child knows what to do in an emergency. Make a plan that is for each child individually.

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