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Back-to-school: Preparing for a Successful Year

Park Avenue Properties - Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Transitioning from summer fun to school work takes effort and a smooth transition can make the difference between a good and bad first day for kids. A great first day of school will set the tone for the year ahead and, as a parent, you know preparedness is key. Get kids started on the right foot to a successful school year with these tips and visit our Back to School Pinterest board for more inspirational ideas.

Start a Back-to-School Tradition.
Kids look forward to traditions that help ease the stress of the first week. Maybe you already do pictures - but how about a “last supper” before the first day? Fix your kids favorite meal -- one that they pick (or at least have a say in, depending on their age). Traditions don’t have to be big -- maybe you’ll help your child cover their books in grocery store bags they decorate themselves, or maybe it is chocolate chip cookies when they get home the first day. If you can, clear your schedule the first week and shelve other family issues so you have time to focus on your child while he/she is transitioning into the new year.
Keep them Healthy and Strong.

Healthy lunches should be full of variety. Avoid the mystery meat and the ho-hum PB&J with these simple, fresh ideas:

1. Change up the bread - don’t always used sliced sandwich bread.  Rolls, pita pockets, and wraps are a good alternative. 

2. Don’t even pack a sandwich - Do something buffet style like cheese, crackers, fruit, carrots on a “platter.”  Blueberries are easy to pick up as well as apples, and cubed melon. 

3. What about hummus?  Adults know it tastes great, but what about kids? Let them enjoy the same varieties of hummus that you do with pita chips and fresh veggies. 

4. Kabobs - Cubes of chicken, fruit, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and any other combo of meat and veggies simply looks more fun than the same old sandwich. 

5. Pasta salad - Try throwing together a pasta salad with all the healthy stuff your kids like.  

Let them focus and excel.

Football, soccer, tae kwon do, dance, chorus, band, pottery, volunteering, cycling, chess club, horseback riding, cross country, debate team....Involving your child in extracurricular activities is great. It encourages their interests, promotes leadership, and helps them become a well rounded individual. But what happens when your child is in five clubs, two sports, and oh yeah, homework on top of it? You wind up driving all over town five days a week, throwing meals together, and generally being stressed out. Keep your sanity! Help your kids choose one or two activities they are truly interested in and allow them to focus and develop their skills in these areas.

Keep them organized.

Soccer, lunch, field trips, PTA meetings -- did you get handed about five calendars at orientation this year? You can buy a big calendar anywhere or make your own. Either way, a large calendar with big squares posted somewhere centralized like a hallway, or a kitchen, for example, will work great. Then copy all of your separate calendars into one big one, and you know what’s going on - what meetings to get to, uniforms to wash, and performances to attend.  

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