PRIME TIME WITH KIDS: Family tips for school days

Donna Erickson

School is in session! It’s an exciting time full of promise for eager young kids and your family. Ease into the season, get into the groove and take advantage of learning opportunities with these tips and activities:


Set the tone for this school year with ongoing conversations with your kids that let them know that education is a priority in your family. “We have our jobs, and now your job is going to school to learn all that you can,” is a place to begin.


These first weeks set an important pattern for the school year and should not be missed if at all possible, so plan vacations and extended weekends away accordingly. This time is key to year-long academic success for all grade levels; classroom routines are set, rules and expectations are explained and put in place, and new friendships are made.


“I can study while I watch TV” is not a reliable statement. Structuring and sticking with new routines is helpful, so encourage a study time and a quiet place free from distractions. When possible, model reading or other quiet tasks while your child does homework.


Create a family information center. Post a calendar to coincide with your digital calendar with athletic schedules, class trips, school meetings, etc. Be sure to pencil in regular family time, too. Make it a central place to grab assignments, supplies and signed permission slips during the morning race out the door. Discovering your child was the only one who forgot his bag lunch for the field trip is stressful for all involved.


Family life can support what kids are doing in school with learning fun.

· While still fresh in your minds, write a list of summer “bests.” For example, best movie, best hike, best ballgame, best day. Talk about them, and share ideas for fun stuff to do this fall.

· Prepare a new fall meal together from start to finish. Let your child read a recipe aloud, then shop, measure and cook the ingredients, set the table and serve. How much time did it take? How much did it cost per serving?

· Read books together and talk about the plot when the story is finished.


Enjoy these years! School days go by quickly, and before you know it, your kids will be packing up their belongings and heading for college. Have a great school year!


Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit and link to

the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

© 2017 Donna Erickson

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

–PRIME TIME WITH KIDS: Family tips for school days–