CREATE AND STOCK A HOMEWORK AREA
Creating a homework area is another task that you can complete before school starts. Choose an area in your home where your child will be able to work with little distraction. High traffic areas and rooms where the television or radio may be in use are not recommended. If your child does not have a desk in his room, specify an area in the kitchen or family room at a table as the study area and declare it a "quiet zone" during homework time. Make the area functional by equipping it with school supplies: paper, pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils, rulers, tape, glue sticks, and scissors. If your child's homework area is not his own desk, use a crate or basket to store school supplies. By creating a practical environment for your child, he will be able to complete assignments with less stress and more focus. Once his assignments are finished, your child will need a place to put them. Encourage him to get in the habit of putting homework into his backpack and then placing the backpack in a visible area, such as the door knob or a hook near the door. This routine will develop responsibility and reduce the anxiety that can result from misplaced homework.
CREATE AND USE SCHOOL CALENDAR
MAKE IT VISIBLE
Once school starts, create a daily routine that is workable for your family. Write in on a new school calendar the standing appointments first: school hours, gymnastics class, piano lessons, baseball practice, bible study, and other regular events. Determine the best study time for your child based on the schedule and write that in next. Spontaneous activities such as play dates, birthday parties, and trips to the ice cream shop can fit in around what you have already scheduled. Not only will this help you and your family to make the most of your time, it will also reduce stress. By having a regular homework time, your child will be less likely to procrastinate, and will see that you value education. Certainly, things don't always turn out the way that you plan them to, but it's helpful to have a general plan.
Your schedule can be further detailed by adding special school dates. Events such as field trips, pageants, assemblies, and parent meetings should be included in your calendar. By planning ahead, you can deal with schedule conflicts and child care needs in advance and make yourself available to participate in school activities. This also allows your child to anticipate future events and arrive at school prepared for them.
PREPARE AN INBOX AND CREATE A ROUTINE
Paperwork is overwhelming for everyone, and parents are not exempt from this. Schools traditionally send home newsletters, brochures, and other items on a regular basis, not to mention notes and permission slips sent home by the teachers. Be prepared in advance for this paperwork blizzard by devising a system to manage the paperwork. Designate an area in your home for all incoming information from school, such as a basket or box. Help your child to practice emptying his backpack each day, putting all papers from school in the designated area. Be sure to read everything that comes home from school as soon as possible so that you don't miss important deadlines. For those papers that you need to keep on hand, label a file folder or binder for organizing things. Don't forget to mark events that may be described in the notices, such as the school rummage sale, awards assemblies, and PTA meetings, on your calendar.