Nine Keys to Unlock a Great School Year!

Resource Center for Parents and Kids

By Carol Band

Raise a juice box and toast the New Year. If you have kids, the calendar doesn't begin when the ball descends in Times Square, it starts on the first day of school.

It's time to trade in flip-flops for tie shoes, hotdogs for hot lunches and catching fireflies for catching zzzs. The transition is not always easy. But, with some planning and a little creativity, going back to school can be something to celebrate.

Click on the keys below
to help unlock your best year yet...

Parents and Kids:
Nine practical tips and ideas to start this school year off right

Easing into the Routine: "It's hard for kids to jump into a new routine," says Stacy DeBroff, author of The Mom Book Goes to School and other strategy books for parents. "Ease into the school year gradually."
Managing the Mornings: The school bus is coming in five minutes. Your son can't find his gym bag, your daughter needs a permission slip signed and no one remembered to walk the dog. The little things can add up to big stress in the morning. Getting kids up and out of the house isn't easy.
Whose Homework Is It?

Kids may hate homework, but so do their parents. That's because it often becomes mom's or dad's responsibility to nag the student to make sure assignments are done properly and on time - and, sometimes, to do an 11th hour run to buy cotton balls for a diorama that's due the next morning.
House Rules That Work
It's a clean slate, and this year, you think, things will be different. Homework will trump TV, the piano will be practiced daily, and everyone will be on the honor roll. This is the year that you will lay down the law and your children will listen. It's not easy - especially as kids get older.
Juggling Activities
Soccer, saxophone, tumbling and tai chi - kids have so many activities to choose from. How can you keep your child active and engaged without going broke or going crazy?
Lunches & Snacks
Breakfast, lunch and after-school snacks - these are what fuel kids for most of their busy day. Too often though, kids skip breakfast or fill up on chocolate milk and fries in the school cafeteria, then come home and slug down a soda and chips. That's a nutritional disaster.
Back-to-School Shopping
New shoes, new shirts, new backpacks, new pants The start of school means new clothes and it can get pretty expensive - especially if you are outfitting several kids.
Getting Involved
Public schools today are increasingly dependent on fund-raisers and on volunteers. Luckily, there are ways beyond bake sales for parents to get involved and to make a difference.
Meeting the Teacher

Sometimes there's a fine line between being an active, involved parent and being overbearing and pushy. Requesting a meeting with your child's teacher in the early weeks of school falls into the first category.