August 5, 2013

Back to school: tips for success (part 2)

3 minutes
Advice for host families

It’s no secret that summer is a wonderful time for all; trips to the beach, family vacations, and lazy days by the pool. But by the end, chances are you are looking forward to sending the kids back to school. You’re not alone! With more defined schedules, you’ll actually have some hours each day to accomplish something again. But before that happens, there is a huge obstacle to conquer – getting the kids ready to go back to school. With lots to do and school quickly approaching, here are some more back to school tips to help tackle your to-do list with efficiency and enthusiasm!
August 5: Schedule any needed doctor’s visits
Summer is a great time to bring a child in for his or her annual check-up, as well as to make sure all of his or her medical history is up to date. When they are babies, check-ups follow a regular schedule tied to their immunizations. But as they get older, many children don’t always get in for a regular check-up and only come in when there’s an acute problem. It’s important for your child to be seen when she’s healthy and not fighting some kind of bug – that way any underlying health problems can be identified. Encourage your children to ask any questions they may have for the doctor- it’s important to share any concerns they may have and start learning the importance of taking ownership of their health.
August 6: Make a shopping list
This is a great way to have your au pair help to create a shopping list for school supplies. Chances are you are already well stocked, so start with having the kids with round up pencils, pens and other classroom materials around the house. This will help keep them busy so you can compare ad circulars and online coupons. After the scavenger hunt, take inventory so you can head to the store with a concrete shopping plan in mind and a lighter list in hand. Stick to your list, don’t wait until the last minute, and take advantage of an opportunity to teach your children about money, budgeting and good buying habits.
August 7: Summer scavenger hunt
But wait! Summer isn’t over yet! There’s still time to enjoy all that our favorite season has to offer. Be sure to download our free summer scavenger hunt for a list of fun activities that celebrate the many sights and shapes of summer. Best of all- it’s designed to keep your kids outside and busy for hours!
August 8: Limit TV
Ask your au pair to encourage more quiet play time with board games, puzzles, reading or art projects. This will help to get your children back into the school mindset. With busy school schedules right around the corner, consuming  7-9 hours out of a waking 13-14 hour day, plus homework, extra-curricular activities and family, there is little time for relaxation, discovery, or just “being.” TV is summer brain drain’s best friend, so help jumpstart learning again by slowly eliminating TV each week. Before you know it, your children will find other ways to spend their free time:  finding their inner artist, getting ahead on homework, diving into a great book, or maybe even a few light chores!
August 9: Play date
Ask your au pair to set up a play date with school friends to allow your kids to get reacquainted with some favorite classmates before school starts. If you live close enough, have your au pair walk or drive them to school to play on the playground or reunite with their favorite basketball court. They’ll be reminded that seeing friends every day is one of the best perks of going back to school, and the reward of friendship will help get them through the stressful transition period.  Another tip is to incentivize good behavior by offering to pick-up their friends!
Stay tuned for next week’s tips, but if you can’t wait for more, visit us on Facebook or Twitter for a daily back to school tip each weekday.