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7 Ways to Brighten Your Child's School Day

Sep 10, 2008
Going back to school can be stressful for kids. They've had all summer to have fun, but now they have to focus on learning. A little pick me up can do wonders for their attitude toward school.

1. Start with a good breakfast.

There's a reason why "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is such a cliche. It's true. If your family consistently has trouble making time for breakfast in the morning, try getting up a bit earlier. It may be hard for both you and the kids to get used to, but it means you can get a decent breakfast into them. And maybe even feed yourself.

2. Pack a note to be read at school.

Another classic, but very worthwhile. My daughter's first grade class actually has this somewhat formalized, with a "Write-to-Me Journal". She writes to us each Friday, and we write back to her over the weekend, to be read at school. But of course notes at other times are also a good idea, such as the classic note in the lunch box.

3. Say "I love you" as they leave for school.

Younger kids love to hear this, of course. Older ones may play embarrassed or annoyed, but they need to hear it too. Say it, and don't worry too much about their reaction.

4. Tell them you're proud of them.

Another thing kids need to hear. I've read that it's best to praise effort rather than to say things such as "You're so smart." You want to be sure that your praise is about something your child is doing well.

Also be sure to let them hear you praise them to others. It's a little extra step that has a lot of meaning when done right. Once again, you don't want to praise just anything, but when an action is worth mentioning to others, do so and sometimes let the kids overhear.

5. Take the time for family fun outside of school.

The school year is a busy time, but don't let it get in the way of all the fun you can have as a family. Get out and enjoy yourselves. Play games. Relax.

6. Give the kids time to be kids.

There's a lot of pressure to put children into a bunch of activities these days. While these can provide some benefits, too many simply lead to stressed out kids. Give them time to play on their own, no instructions from adults. Other than "No TV, no computer, no video games" perhaps. Get them outside.

Outdoor play has been shown to help with the symptoms of ADD, and the exercise is generally healthy anyhow. It doesn't matter your age, you should all get outside to have fun daily anyhow. Playing outside helps kids to focus mentally.

7. Talk about what's happening at school.

Go beyond "So how was your day?" and similar questions. Younger kids can be asked about what they enjoyed most about their day. Older kids may be more willing to talk about projects they're working on. Figure out what topics will get your child talking to you about what's happening in school. Keep this as a habit and be positive about things so they're used to discussing things with you, even when there's a problem.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about being a stay at home mom. Get more tips by subscribing to her free newsletter for stay at home moms .
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