Even when my children are completely calm about starting a new school year, I can be a little nervous. Will they connect with their teachers? Will they have a friend in their class? Will they be able to keep up with their schoolwork?
The start of a new school year is filled with anticipation, excitement, and maybe even a little stress or anxiety. How you prepare your family for this new beginning can calm those fears and equip everyone for a year of fun and learning. Here are some tips for making this school year the best yet:
1. Create excitement! Receiving an education is a privilege, and your children should feel excited about the opportunity to learn. Make a list of things they’ll need (supplies, clothing, etc.) and make back-to-school shopping a big event. Talk about the fun new subject areas that each grade level brings, to help them anticipate all the cool things they’ll learn. (Did you know that by the end of this first grade year, you’ll be able to read lots and lots of books all by yourself?? Third graders get to learn the multiplication tables–you’ll be a multiplying machine by spring!)
2. Connect with teachers. A great relationship with your child’s teacher can make all the difference in a school year. Good communication between parents and teachers makes it easier to identify and meet learning challenges and foster good social and emotional development for your child. Take every opportunity to meet one-on-one with your child’s teacher to build that rapport, including open houses, parent-teacher conference days, and other events. If you feel like you haven’t had a chance to really get to know the teacher, ask to schedule a conference at his or her convenience.
3. Establish the schedule. About a week before school starts, get back on track with the bedtime and morning schedule that school days require. This gives everyone time to adjust so that they go into those first days well-rested and feeling their best.
4. Review in areas of concern. If your child has struggled in a particular academic area, consider a tutor to help him gain confidence in those weak spots, or pick up some review materials from the book store and work through them at home. Starting off behind is hard for everyone: the teacher, the parents, and most of all the child. On the other hand, getting off to a good start can set the tone for the rest of the year and pay great dividends for everyone.
5. Establish a good homework routine from the start.From day one, have your children come home and after a quick snack, get straight to their homework. Even if there’s little to do for the first few days of school, this creates the expectation for what the afternoons should always look like during the school year. Completing homework quickly allows the entire family to unwind and enjoy dinner and the rest of the evening stress-free.
Laying a solid foundation for the school year will reap dividends all year long. Here’s to a wonderful year of fun and learning!