Beat the Back-to-School Blahs (with great at-home ideas)!

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The rubbery smell of a new pink eraser. The squeak of new tennis shoes on freshly waxed linoleum. The chorus of children’s laughter cascading through school bus windows. These images encompass the annual phenomenon called the first day of school!

Each fall, we fill our children’s closets with new clothing and fill their backpacks with new notebooks and pencils—all in preparation for returning to school. This year, try filling your home with a few new routines, as well, to help ease the transition from summertime to school time. Here are some tips for your family to try:

1. Create a Homework Nook: To beat the back-to-school blahs, help your child create a motivating and relaxing space to complete homework. Let him or her pick out a fun desk set, cute lamp or cozy beanbag to personalize the spot. Build excitement about the coming year!

2. Celebrate Good Work: Decorate an inexpensive corkboard with fabric, ribbons and tacks in anticipation of displaying your child’s work. Hang the board in a prominent area where it can be enjoyed by the entire family.

3. Let ‘Em Eat Cake (or at least crackers): Fill the pantry with nutritious, child-approved after-school snacks. Yummy chocolate chip trail mix or peanut butter crackers ease the sting of homework. And research shows that nutritious snacks promote learning and concentration.

4. Set Goals: Be proactive and set goals for the new year. Make sure you involve your child in the process; what does she really want to achieve? The most effective goals are action-based, not outcome-based. For example, rather than stating the desired result (earn an A on every spelling test), list specific actions that your child can achieve and control (study my spelling words for 15 minutes every evening).

5. Celebrate Success! When a goal is met, celebrate with your child. Celebrations can be as simple as a hug or as involved as a family camping trip. Just make sure the emphasis is on the learning—and not just the reward.

6. Finally, be Positive! Help your child focus on the fun aspects of school (seeing friends, going on fieldtrips, learning new stuff). Your positive talk will go a long way toward easing jitters and silencing groans as the year begins. And if all else fails, a new pink eraser and squeaky new sneaks might just do the trick.

Post a useful or helpful comment, below, and be entered to win a School Box gift card!

author: Elizabeth Cossick, M.Ed.


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