Summer is winding down and preparation has begun for the start of a new school year. For many of us, making the trek to your favorite store to purchase notebooks, fun pens and pencils, and the coolest water bottle seems daunting. However, this is most likely the easiest part and only the beginning of preparing our children and ourselves for the transition from summer to school year. Even though it happens every year and we should be experts by now, each year is different and brings on new challenges depending on the age of our child and the school they will be attending, from preschool up through college. In the current ParentingNH magazine, we found some very helpful advice from parents on how they recommend setting up children for success in the new school year. Here are a few helpful tips from parents:
Start School Routines Early
Larry is the father of two girls ages 11 and 9. While one skips to the bus on the first day, the other remains huddled under her blankets even after the alarm clock has beeped for ten minutes straight! He recommends starting the “school routine” a couple weeks before school even starts. This includes earlier bedtime, packing lunches the night before, and clothes ready for the next day. While we feel reluctant to say goodbye to summer, establishing this routine helps to “make the transition to a new school year a little bit smoother and less of a shock to the system.”
If your child is one who would rather stay in bed, here are some possible reasons for the back-to-school jitters and practical ways you can help:
Prep and Pre-prep
While it is important to prepare for what is happening each day, it is also critical to look ahead to projects or events that might be coming up in the week or two ahead. This involves having your child consistently communicating with teachers and coaches and parents. Middle school is a perfect time for teaching your child good communicating skills such as e-mailing their coach if they have a question about a practice or game time. Alternatively, they could practice telling their teacher they will be out of school due to a doctor’s appointment and need the homework assignment ahead of time.
Instill Confidence through Responsibility
By giving your child responsibilities and tasks, you are building up their confidence and creating a sense of accomplishment that will carry over to their school life. Creating a chore chart at the beginning of the school year is a great way to teach your child the importance of contributing to the household as well as learning important life skills. Just remember that you are likely to hear increased grumbling whenever you try and change habits! Stick with the plan and you will see increased independence and growth!
Organize and Prioritize
In order to help your child be organized, you will need to be on top of things yourself. While this may feel daunting, it will help the school year be more calm and stress-free for both of you. It is also important for you to help your child prioritize what’s really important not only academically, but also socially, especially in the teen years. When it comes to studying and organization, here are some helpful tips for making life easier:
Socially, we need to help our tweens and teens prepare for situations outside of the academics of the classroom including how to manage social media. Here are a few helpful articles, including a parents’ guide to social media and teachers’ picks for best podcasts for kids and teens:
All of us here at PNC wish you and your children our best for a successful school year!