Are Your First Day Ready? Understood.org #FirstDayReady

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Are You First Day Ready?

There is no mistaking that if your kids aren’t headed back to school now, they will be soon, ours started just this week – the stores are filled with supplies and sales and ads for back-to-school. The beginning of a new school year can be an especially challenging time for parents and children both, although for totally different reasons. For parents, making sure that kids are equipped with the supplies and everything they need to get organized and have a good year is usually the first challenge. Then meeting the teachers, checking out the classrooms, and assessing the curriculum for the year is next on the list.

This year was a tough year for me, as this was the first year after being divorced that I had to do everything on my own. I had to go school clothes shopping, supply shopping (which honestly, I couldn’t afford everything, so I just bought was I could afford and I felt was a necessity, even those 32 glue sticks for my Kindergartener.)

For kids, the stress of the new school year can be a little different than what we experience as parents. Did you know that one in five children in the U.S. have learning and attention issues, like ADHD and dyslexia? Children with these types of challenges – many of whom have never been formally diagnosed – can feel especially stressed during the back-to-school season as they face new subjects, teachers and schools.

As the new school year approaches, we were excited to get personalized tips from the First-Day Ready Guide to help our kids make a great start. The Ad Council and Understood.org have partnered to promote ways children and their families can be First-Day Ready. Understood.org is offering a free First-Day Ready Guide to help parents with students at every age successfully manage back-to-school transitions. Understood.org is a free, easy-to-use online resource and community designed to support parents and caregivers of children with learning and attention issues.

My girls are in Kindergarten and 3rd grade, so this year big sister has to take care of little sister and be her protector, although this leaves more time for mom to get things done.

These back-to-school tips from the Understood.org website are an invaluable resource for getting on track and starting the year of on the right foot.  They helped my family; hopefully they can help yours too.

  • Planning early is important to help relieve stress.  Creating structure and routine around the start of the new school year—with checklists, calendars and other organization systems— helps prepare kids for class expectations. (Mention which tool you found especially helpful and why, e.g.: Back-to-School Countdown Planner, Backpack Checklist, and sample Homework Contract.)

You can also take your child on a school tour to help ease fears by showing them how to find their classroom, nearby bathrooms, the cafeteria and other important places the first week of school.  This can be a huge stress relief whether the child is new to the school or not. Just knowing where to go can help them feel more comfortable.  

  • Connecting with your child’s teacher early on benefits everyone and creates a great starting point for the new year.  This will give you an opportunity to share your child’s needs or learning style while expressing your support for the teacher and the challenges he/she may be facing with a new classroom full of students.  You will help create an atmosphere of cooperation while speaking up for your child and his or her challenges.

  • Finally, get support!  Many parents and students are going through the same experience. Understood.org and Understood’s Facebook page connect parents across the country to share information and learn from each other. You can also ask around your community and school to find other parents you can connect with.

So, no matter your child’s age or needs, this Back-to-School season can be a seamless transition and positive experience for both you and your children!  

If you could use some help getting started on the right foot this school year, Understood.org is a great place to start.  

All kids learn in different ways and at different paces. With the right support, all kids can thrive in school and in life.

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