Tips to help children do their best

This is an exciting time for students, families, and teachers as they look forward to new classes, activities, and friends. In the next two columns teachers share tips to help classmates become a team that cooperates, focuses, and creates a pleasant environment for learning. Teachers need families to help more than ever.


beginning of school

Families might wish to make a paper chain loop with the number of days until the first day of school. Take one loop off each morning until the big day.

Celebrate the beginning of school with a school bus cake found at This is especially important for children entering school.

Tips for happy school days

Families may want to pick a few tips at a time and have short conversations to help young children prepare. Role-playing some of the tips below can be fun for the whole family as long as everything is kept light. The goal is to HELP not create concern or more anxiety.

Plan a healthy breakfast together and bring a nutritious snack for mid morning. If children aren’t hungry when they first wake up, give them some water, milk, or juice and bag some dry cereal, toast, or cheese to munch.

This helps reduce a midmorning grouchy/tired sugar low. Children can help make a list for shopping and learn to be a detective for healthy and unhealthy ingredients by reading labels.

Send a lunchtime happy note several times a week on a paper towel or napkin. Include a photo of the family and pet for the desk.

Experts suggest young children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Otherwise, by Friday there can be a large sleep deficit. Sunday nights are especially important or Monday mornings will really be tough for everyone.

How much time is needed to dress before breakfast and travel to school? It’s a good idea to begin adjusting bedtimes now to approximate the new schedule. Have several trial runs and add 10 minutes.

Together choose and set out clothes, backpack with notes and assignments, shoes (often a frustration in the morning), and weather appropriate outerwear, etc. the night before to avoid rushing and unwanted family stress.

Practice saying something nice to send the family on their way in the morning. Attitude is important.

Say “hi” with a smile to the bus or carpool driver and others you meet. At school hang up clothing and follow other school/classroom procedures. Walk and use an “indoor” voice in school and open doors for adults and others.

What exciting things will your children learn today? Next Time: Part Two. For more early learning tips, pod casts, and videos for families see and for pod casts “Learning Through the Seasons.”

Editor’s note: This column is penned by retired Marquette Area Public Schools teachers Iris Katers, Jean Hetrick, and Cheryl Anderegg. Esther Macalady is from Golden, Colorado. Tim Fox currently teaches at Superior Hills Elementary. It’s supported by Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, the School of Education, U.P. Children’s Museum, U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, and U.P. Parent Awareness of Michigan. Their book “Learning Through the Seasons” is available at area stores and Their mission is to provide fun standards based activities that adults can do in the home to prepare children for school and a lifetime of learning and reduce the stress of child care.