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11 pieces of advice as students soon start return to classrooms

It can’t hurt to review some of these guidelines as your youngsters get ready for the school year. Check out these tips:

1. Visit the school before classes start. Whether this is a new school for the child or the same one he left in May, a visit to a new classroom and introduction to a new teacher help with the transition. Many schools have a back-to-school night, an ice cream social or open house the week before the first bell rings. Go!

2. Wrap up your back-to-school purchases right now. Don’t add to the stress with last-minute shopping trips for supplies and clothing.

3. Turn back the bedtime clock 10 minutes. Do this each night for a week and wake up 10 minutes earlier each morning. This will lessen the shock of a crack-of-dawn wake-up call that first day and ensure the kids are well-rested for learning. Remember, children should get nine to 10 hours of sleep.

4. Figure out transportation ahead of time. Walking, riding bikes, carpools, school buses, parent drop-off and pickup — they all involve strategic planning, communication and safety issues. Come up with a schedule and assign responsibilities.

5. Have an end-of-summer playdate. Bring together your children and the school friends they haven’t seen since May. Re-establishing friendships will get your kids excited about returning to school.

6. Review traffic rules to keep kids safe. In case of an emergency, do your children know their full name, your phone number and the phone number of another trusted adult? Make sure they do.

7. Teach your middle school child how to use a combination lock. Nothing can make a sixth-grader melt down faster than a locker that won’t open in a crowded hallway with just four minutes to go before the next class begins.

8. Ask your child what you can do to help. Ask what would make her feel more comfortable and less anxious about school. Have a conversation. Be empathetic. This simple exchange will give her a sense of control over what’s happening in her life.

9. Establish schedules. Plan time for homework, TV/video games, baths and bedtime.

10. Create an environment for learning in your home. Do homework at a well-lit table or desk. Eliminate distractions: turn down the TV and music, put away the phones, and if conversation is necessary, speak softly.

11. Put notes in your children’s lunchboxes or backpacks that first day. Be sure to let them know you are thinking of them.

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