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School is in session with Mrs. Brinker: Getting in routine for school

WTHR education expert Jennifer Brinker, from Greenwood Middle School, has some advice for getting geared up for back to school.

GREENWOOD, Ind — School will reopen this week in parts of central Indiana, while other students will have one more week left of summer. With that can come struggles to get back into a routine. WTHR education expert, Jennifer Brinker, from Greenwood Middle School, has some advice for getting geared up for back to school.  

Matthew Fultz-WTHR: So Mrs. Brinker, what comes first? What do we need to do right now to be ready?

Mrs. Brinker: Bedtime routines! I don’t care if your child is 5 or 15, they have probably had a bit of a wonky summer at pool parties, movie nights and watching fireworks. It can actually take two weeks to get new sleep routines in place, so start to get a handle on those bedtimes now so that your child is up and at it on that first day of school!

Matthew Fultz-WTHR: I know one thing a lot of people are looking at are back-to-school supplies. What tips do you have?

Mrs. Brinker: I encourage parents to stick to the list if their child’s teacher has something specific on there and don’t go for any of those temptations that could be not functional or a distraction in class. They don’t need a ruler that doubles as a fidget spinner, so I’d avoid anything like that. Do have some fun with the back-to-school shopping though, and let kids have a say in their lunch boxes, folders or backpacks — it will give them some ownership and make them feel excited about the return.

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Matthew Fultz-WTHR: What would you tell those parents who have kids who are really dreading coming back to school? How do they help with that attitude?

Mrs. Brinker: I would say it is hard for kids AND adults to make changes and go back to work after a break. The main thing I would tell parents though is to keep their own attitudes in check when it comes to returning to school. Kids take their cues from the adults in their lives. If you keep conversations about back-to-school upbeat, your child will be more likely to feel that way. If you ask them if they are dreading going back, you are further implanting the idea into their heads that it is a bad thing. Instead of saying are you nervous or bummed about going back, ask what they are excited for this year at school. If they still have a very negative outlook, talk about that, and try and make a plan about what they do enjoy about school. 

Matthew Fultz-WTHR: Final advice?

Mrs. Brinker: I’m sure your child’s school has an open house or back-to-school night: Make sure you attend, if at all possible. That is where you get important info, meet some staff members and set the tone for the year.


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