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6 Ready-for-School Tips – for Parents, from Parents

A new school year can bring new experiences – and sometimes new challenges – for the whole family. Here are some personal top tips from Noggin parents and advisors!

Discuss a routine

Discuss a routine with your child. During the summer months, it's easy to break routines or adjust them a bit because kids are no longer in school. What works for me is writing down Novi's schedule on a dry erase board or piece of paper that sticks to our refrigerator and then talking about it with her. Discussing that structure makes it easier to follow once it's time to get back into the swing of returning to school.

– Lasette Canady, Noggin Mom of Novi (7)

Engage in gratitude practices

My family and I try to engage in gratitude practices throughout our day with each other! For example, we meditate on what we are grateful for when we wake up, write in our gratitude journals during the day, and share what we are thankful for with each other before we go to bed! My colleague and I also message each other 3 things we are grateful for every day (for the past 4 years!) — and I can't wait to do that with my daughter when she is old enough to read!

– Dr Ilana Nankin, Founder & CEO of Breathe For Change, Mom of Aliya

Help practice speaking up

As summer winds down, help your child practice speaking up for what they need. At home, all kids – and especially those with learning differences – are fairly used to the adults around them being in tune with what they need, whether it’s a brain break, a different way to show what they know, or just a moment to think. Going back to school means interacting with grown-ups who don’t know them as well, so kids may need to advocate for themselves. Point out when your child is “speaking up” – as well as gently remind them at other times when they might need to more. When you practice how to do it with them and give them specific words to use, it can make a big difference in your child’s self-confidence for the new year.

– Amanda Morin, Educational and Neurodiversity Consultant | Author

Role-play together

If your child is going back to school or starting school for the first time, I would say there is a little bit of anxiety around meeting new people. I usually role play with Novi to get her comfortable with the idea of making new friends. I'll either say "Hey, let's pretend it's the first day, and I'm a kid in your class you don't know" ...I'll then pretend to be the new kid, and we'll go back and forth. Or, we'll use Novi's dolls to act out a scene. I could even see parents using puppets/sock puppets to do this if they really want to make an activity out of it. This kind of role playing always helps me to learn new things about my child, and I could only hope that she applies the things I teach her in her real life.

– Lasette Canady, Noggin Mom of Novi (7)

Write little notes

My third-grade daughter still occasionally has separation concerns. Facing a new school year with different classes and teachers can be really scary at any age! At the beginning of the year – or during the year if she’s going through a particularly difficult time – I put short notes in her school bag: one to read on the bus, another for during the day, and a final note for the end of the day. They are often just one-liners, saying that I’m proud of her or how I think she’s so brave – or sometimes I draw a funny picture. As she feels more comfortable, I gradually decrease the frequency of the notes. I noticed that my notes also inspire her to write more messages or cards to me, her younger brother, and her friends!

– Bo Young Lee, Noggin Mom of Maddy (8) and Toby (5)

Set an intention for each day

My family and I start our mornings by connecting to our breath and setting an intention for our day. We focus it on how we want to show up (e.g., My intention is to be focused, playful, present, etc.), as opposed to what we want to do (e.g., finish X, Y, or Z). When we focus on the energy we want to bring to each moment, we are way more likely to accomplish the outcomes we want for ourselves. We also find one or two words that represent our intentions and can serve as our anchor throughout the day. Every day, my husband, daughter, and I share our intentions with each other (e.g., My intention is to be loving and kind), and serve as each others' “Accountabili-buddies!” It has such a positive impact on our life and on our relationships!

– Dr Ilana Nankin, Founder & CEO of Breathe For Change, Mom of Aliya

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