Thursday, August 28, 2014

Back-To-School Survival Guide

Turn on your TV, and surely you'll be inundated with back-to-school madness. We're willing to bet you've got a lot on your mind as you prepare the family to return to those early mornings waiting for the school bus, evenings spent slaving over homework and the upcoming afternoon soccer practices! So, we've compiled a list of resources and reminders to help you get back into the swing of things this fall!

Plan Ahead While You Still Can
No matter how much you vow to get up earlier this year and avoid rushing in the morning, we guarantee that once you wave goodbye to your kids on that first day, the momentum of the new year will make time fly. By looking long-term now, you can potentially eliminate those oh-so-familiar struggles.

For example, make sure your kid has a comfortable desk space to work on his or her homework so that they're not distracted by siblings or the sound of the TV in the family room. Here are some fun, colorful ideas for your kids' room at various price levels.

Also, we love the idea of spending one of these last few summer days having a school lunch tasting. Test out some healthy meal ideas on your kids to determine what they might like or not like in terms of new sandwich and snack options. If your kid is old enough, this is also a great time to try to get them involved with putting together some of their own lunches!

Emotions Are Running High: Address 'Em!
No matter how prepared you, your kid or your teacher are for the new school year, every transition includes stressors, even if they're small or ones you anticipated. How do you address that? Here are some ideas:

For your kids, find a way to show even the most excited-for-school kids that you're thinking of them while they're in class. Never underestimate the power of a little note in the lunch bag, or, for the more artistic parent, send your son or daughter to school with a piece of art in their backpack for them to uncover every day like this dad did. The small gesture will make them feel a little less alone on days when making new friends feels hard.

For parents, we recommend finding support in fellow parents! Take a few minutes to chat at the bus stop with other neighborhood moms and dads, get to know each other at a meet-the-teacher night, or even use social media to connect with other parents going through similar transitions. From parent blogs to subreddits, we guarantee you can find like-minded parents on the web. Tweet at us if you want a more specific suggestion of a blog or network, based on your parenting style and personality!

Don't Rush the Last Minutes of Summer
Some of you parents might be reading all of these tips thinking, "stress? I can't wait to have kids back in school, and to get back to normal!" Yes, summer can be just as hectic as the school year for you, but it's definitely worth remembering that summer, for kids, means freedom, endless play and the opportunity to explore their interests. As one of our Twitter followers pointed out, make sure not to rush those last few dwindling summer moments!
We know that a formal education is crucial for all young people, but keep the spirit of summer alive with lots of play (structured and unstructured) after school and on weekends. Free play benefits kids emotionally and cognitively, so make sure to encourage it in your household! Whether it's hide-and-seek in the backyard, or a dance party with dad, remember to help kids decompress and build those social skills whenever you can!

We're happy to help you get into the swing of play with your family. With every show at our theater, we create Family Activities, host Family Workshops, have Arts Express and TXT Marks the Spot fun in the theater, and have a Try This! activity in our lower lobby. Plan your trip to the New Vic this fall and make sure to include these opportunities for fun in your day!

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