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10 days of 10 activities to get you ready

Looking to cure those back-to-school blues? This year, more than ever, it’s important to get kids excited about learning. For many, there is still a lot of uncertainty around in-person classroom learning, part-time in-person school, or full-time e-learning. Whatever your situation may be, use the “10 Days of Action” to get your kids energized and equipped for the new school year. Set them up for success with challenges, activities and conversations that address everything from goals and homework to friendships and behavior. Lay the foundation for a great year while having fun and prepping everyone to have their best school experience yet!

  • Day 1: Budget for Back-To-School Items

    One of the most expensive and time-consuming shopping seasons for families is getting kids ready to head back to school. This presents a great opportunity to get those brains working again and make learning fun at the same time. Put the shopping power in their hands! Before you go to the store or get online, provide them with a set budget and the list of supplies. Have them look for any coupons or sales and help decide where to shop. At the store, let them pick out whatever they want. If shopping online, encourage them to explore different sites to find the best deals.The only rules are to stay on budget and to get all the supplies on the list. This type of experience is a fun and powerful way for kids to begin learning lessons about responsibility, money and how to budget. If they are old enough, get yourself a coffee and relax in the store while they get to work. For extra learning, take a look at the Boys Town Social Skill – Being a Consumer below.

  • Day 2: Bedtime

    After a summer of late nights and relaxed mornings, it's important to help your kids adjust to the earlier bedtimes and wake-up calls that come with the school year. If you haven't started easing back into school bedtimes and morning wake up times, start now! If your schedule allows, many of these daily activities can be done in the mornings to get kids used to getting up and moving earlier and earlier each day. It's a good rule of thumb, even if you aren't even actually leaving the house for school, to create and maintain consistent bedtime and morning routines. It is recommended to keep bedtime and morning routines on the weekend too, but we get if you need a little break!

    Boys Town Pediatrics recommends that elementary school students should get 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Pre-teens through high school-age youth need 9 to 11 hours. These guidelines will vary for individual children, but making sure your child gets enough sleep is one of the best things you can do to ensure he or she will be attentive in class, have energy for the school day and maintain good physical health.

  • Day 3: Set Up Study Area

    Getting children motivated to study can be a challenge. One way to encourage them to do their homework or e-learning is to create a designated study space for them. Get your child involved so they feel positive about the space. Challenge them to spend some time making the space their own. Print out the 9 Tips to Building a Good Study Spot below and let them loose. This is a great way to get them excited about studying. For more on study-friendly environments, take a look at the links below.

  • Day 4: New Morning Routine

    Back to school means back to morning routines. As you well know, mornings can be particularly challenging times for children to get up and ready for school on time. Even if school ends up being in your living room, it's still important to “get ready for school" every morning. To help your child and family be successful, take time before school starts to write down, review and post what the new morning routine will look like during the school year. For younger kids, use the behavior chart below to customize your morning routine. For older kids, simply write out the steps they will take in the morning and discuss how much time they will need for each. Display the timeline in their room as a reminder each morning. For more tips on how to develop an effective, hassle-free morning routine, visit the article below.

  • Day 5: Back to School Clothes Shopping

    Shopping for back-to-school clothes with children and teens can be a challenge. While it's important to let them express their personality in their choices, it's also important for them to remember that clothes can say a lot about a person. Before you shop, do these four things;

    1. Discuss what is most important when it comes to choosing clothing; That they are trendy? That they make you look good? That they are comfortable? That they are unique? Use this as a litmus test when deciding what to and what not to buy when shopping.
    2. Agree upon a budget and build your shopping strategy based off of that. Avoid arguments by avoiding stores that have prices far above your budget.
    3. Make a list so you don't get off course but leave room for one or two fun items if they fit within your budget.
    4. Discuss how clothes can impact what people may think about you. What do you want your clothes to say about you? What can certain pieces of clothing say that others may not. Do you need to build a list of exclusions before you go?

    For more support, download the Boys Town Social Skill on Choosing Appropriate Clothing below.

  • Day 6: Goals and Involvement in Academics and Extracurricular Activities

    A healthy balance of academics and extracurricular activities is key to a successful school experience. Having an imbalance in one or both areas can cause poor performance and can lead to stress, frustration and anxiety.

    The way to work to achieve a healthy balance is to sit down with your child and have a discussion of realistic expectations and goals for grades, school and extracurricular activities. The key here is to make sure your child isn't overloaded with too much or not challenged enough. Remember each child is different with unique academic abilities and likes and dislikes regarding activities.

    Talk with them in a positive way. Go over what last year was like, paying attention to what went well and what didn't. Rather than focusing on the negative, discuss what your child learned from last year and how you as a parent can support them in meeting their goals for the coming year. These discussions become more important as children grow older. Write out the goals for the year and display them in a prominent place. Revisit the goals and the short-term strategies that they are using to accomplish them at least once a quarter.

  • Day 7: "What If's"

    At the start of a new school year, some kids are excited while others are anxious and worried about things that are out of their control. Especially this year with COVID-19, we can and should all expect a lot of change and things we cannot control. For example, they might worry about not getting the best teacher or not having a good friend in their class. If your child has a case of the “what ifs” or is worried about something beyond their control, resist the impulse to try to solve things for them. Instead, look at the situation as a teaching opportunity to help them learn how to solve problems. A great way to do this is to ask them questions to help them problem solve on their own. Download our list of What If Questions to help guide your conversation. The key with the “what if's” is to not automatically try to fix your child's problems but to instead teach them problem solving skills they can use with the inevitable difficulties and frustrations they'll encounter as they move though life. The questions are based off of the SODAS problem-solving method, for more information on SODAS, take a look at the link below.

  • Day 8: Discuss Social Life

    Having friends, developing new friendships and maintaining healthy relationships is an important part of your child‘s development.

    When children make friends, they develop important life skills like how to get along with others and successfully work through conflicts and problems. These skills are important for your child to learn because children who get along with others are less likely to have social and emotional difficulties later in life.

    Talking to your children about how to be a good friend and develop and maintain healthy friendships is an important discussion to have since relationships are such a big part of the school setting. Make sure your children know what a good relationship entails, especially as they get into the tween and teen year. Check out the articles below for more information on friendships and relationships for different ages.

  • Day 9: Keeping Lines of Communication Open

    It's often challenging to get children and teens to ask for help and talk about the areas where they are really struggling. A good way to help your child learn to open up with you is to create situations where your child is relaxed and more likely to be talkative. The activity for today is to plan a short one-on-one mini-date. It can be as simple as a long walk or as extensive as dinner and an activity. The point is to have one-on-one time where you can really talk. Use this time to set up more dates throughout the year. The conversation starters below can help you and your child come up with ideas for future dates and conversations. Letting kids know that communication is important and that you will always make time for it makes them more likely to seek your help when faced with difficulties beyond their capabilities.

    Your child will experience difficult and frustrating situations throughout the year with school and academics; relationships with teachers, classmates and friends; and extracurricular activities. Another tool you can give your child to set them up for success when facing issues they are unable to solve, teach them the skill of asking for help. The step-by-step skill is included below.

  • Day 10: Summer Send Off!

    The end of summer and beginning of school can be a bittersweet time for kids and parents. Relaxed summer days filled with fun activities fun activities like swimming and playing outside all day is coming to an end.

    Before your kids head back to school, make sure to help them enjoy the last bit of the summer season while also celebrating the beginning of a new school year. Take a day and surprise your kids with a family day. It's a good chance to reconnect and relax before the school year stressors set in.