Navigating Parenting: 5 Ways To Increase Your Child's Productivity and Attention In School

Somehow this year I ended up with a 1st grader and 2nd grader. I'm over here in the land of motherhood fantasy thinking I was just rocking babies to sleep yesterday. Ok, I probably was still rocking them to sleep yesterday, BUT, they sure as heck aren't babies anymore!

Having two little boys in elementary school, I feel it is my job to send them off each day at their best. This isn't always going to be the case, because, well... life. However, I can do my best to help these little people start off the school year on fire, ready to tackle every new concept and conquer every new fear! 

I've put together 5 tips to help all of us mama's do just that. This list is for me too, mama friends. I realize some of these ideas are 100% common sense but that doesn't mean we all can't use a little reminder now and again. 

           1. Set up a school routine BEFORE the school year begins.
  OK, so for many of us school is already back in session but it isn't too late. Talk to your kids about what will be expected of them with their school routine. Choose a bedtime and a wake up time that works for your family. My kids are not too young to wake up independently, get dressed, brush their teeth and come downstairs ready for the day. If you think your child is too irresponsible to handle that, it may be time for some training and consistency. They can do it!

   2. Fix a nutritious breakfast for your child.
 This is a popular "rule" that has been around for generations. Why is it so challenging, then? What your kids eat before they head off to school will have a major impact on their morning and productivity. If you can get fiber and protein into their tummies, you will be doing their attention span a great favor. Stay away from processed sugary cereals, poptarts, toaster strudels and doughnuts. Instead, include fruit, whole grains, greek yogurt and nuts into their breakfast. Everyone enjoys a treat, but try to make it just that: a treat. 

     3. Do not allow any electronic devices or screen time until everything is packed up and kids are ready to walk out of the door.
 Some parents will say "no screen time" on a school morning, but I am not one of those parents. If my kids get up on time, eat their breakfast, brush their teeth, get their shoes on and backpacks packed up with their lunch, I am more than happy to let them watch a few minutes of their favorite show as a reward for being so diligent.

4. Encourage them and speak about positive things on school mornings! 
Before school is NOT the time to bring up a disciplinary situation or argument that occurred the day before with their sibling. They WILL take those thoughts and feelings with them to school and it WILL affect their productivity and mood once there. If the situation requires, remind them gently of something they need to work on but be careful to not threaten them with punishment right before they walk into school. Also along these lines, ask detailed questions about their day and stay involved in the social and academic happenings of your child. Something I have found that helps my kids and myself is praying out loud on the car ride to school. We give our cares and concerns to the Lord and clear up our minds and hearts for an amazing day. 

5. If you can, get involved in your child's class. 
Volunteer to bring in a special snack, read a book to the class, organize a special holiday craft or just give their teacher a short lunch break while you look after the classroom (check with school guidelines for all of the above). When your child sees you taking a vested interested in their day, they are going to (either knowingly or otherwise) feel more confident and secure. Nothing means more to a child than when an important adult in their life, enters their world. 

Take heart and don't worry, moms! We are all in this together. Yesterday is over and we cannot fix it but today is happening right now! Do not miss out on today because you're tied up in yesterday. Grab that big kid and wrap him or her up in a bear hug. Tell them how much you love them, kiss them, tickle them and remind them daily that you are on their team for life. 


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