August 19, 2013

Back to school: tips for success (part 4)

2 minutes
Advice for host families

While still savoring the last few days of summer, you can get your kids ready and excited for school with this week’s back-to-school tips. Sleep schedules are hard to re-adjust after the lazy days of summer with late nights and sleeping in. It’s time to start thinking about that morning routine, walking to school and getting the kids ready to make the transition to a school schedule. Our ideas for back-to-school art projects and planning school lunches will get them exited and ready to start the year. And don’t forget to commemorate the occasion with a traditional back-to-school photo. Smile!
August 19: Back-to-school art project
Ask your au pair to do a school-related art project with your kids to get them excited for their first day. Depending on their ages, they could draw their school, their best friend at school, their favorite subject or write a story about what they think will happen the first day of school. The craft could be something to get them ready for school, like making a lunch money box, or decorating a binder or notebook or creating magnets to hold their school papers on the refrigerator.
August 20: School lunch
Have your au pair and kids plan a menu of healthy school lunches for the first week so your kids are eating something nutritious that they like. Bento boxes are a big hit with kids – lots of little portions of different types of foods all packed together in one plastic box. Help them think beyond the traditional sandwich to things that can go into a thermos, like soups and noodles, or bringing some of last night’s dinner, such as chicken or meatloaf. What are your favorite school lunch ideas?
August 21: Practice run
Have your au pair practice walking to school with your kids. Make it fun by bringing along a stop watch so the kids can time themselves there and back. Have them figure out what time they will have to leave the house or be on the bus stop to make sure they are on time. Do they walk to school or ride the bus with other children in the neighborhood? Make the practice run a group activity to make it even more fun!
August 22: Create a back-to-school family tradition
Kids love traditions – something they can look forward to each year and have fun remembering past years. Family traditions become milestones in their memories. Back-to-school is the perfect time for a family tradition. Perhaps it’s a family photo at the bus stop, or a special “last day of summer” meal together or simply asking each person to share at dinner what they are looking forward to in the coming year. Make your au pair part of it by having her share something about school in her country.
August 23: Morning routine
Ask your au pair and kids to create a school morning check list chart. Include things like: make the bed, get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, pack your backpack (with school books, homework, lunch or lunch money, permission slips, etc.) Do they have to help with the family pet before they head out the door? Take allergy medication? Help a younger sibling? Add them to the checklist. You can use photos of each item for younger children and have them decorate it and hang it on their door or in the kitchen.
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.