New backpacks. Clean shoes. Notebooks with pristine covers. New teachers and friendly faces. All of these things are all part of the anticipation children have when they think about the start of a new school year. As summer winds down and children begin trading in their swimsuits and sleep-overs for school buses and homework, there are several strategies parents can use to ease any stress that might occur during the back-to-school season.
A successful school year can depend on how smoothly a child transitions from summer vacation. Here are some tips for helping your child make a smooth transition:
- Focus on the Positives. Talk to your children about their summer accomplishments. Recogize the skills they practiced, no matter how large or small. Did they learn to swim? Did they read a whole book (or maybe many books)? Did they go the whole summer without losing their house key or cell phone? Maybe your teen began babysitting this summer... Skills such as perseverance, time-management, responsibility, and independence will help them will help them succeed in school.
- Ask your child to write a short story about his or her summer experiences. This will give your child practice writing before the first day back in the classroom, and it is also a nice way to reminisce about quality time spent together. Pictures are an added bonus!
- Set up a study area for your child. It should be quiet and free of distractions. Make sure the area has "study supplies" (pens, paper, markers, dictionary, thesaurus, etc.).
- Establish a consistent homework routine at the very beginning of the school year. Help your child develop organizational skills by writing down his appointments, assignments, and activities, and by helping him break big assignments into small, manageable parts. Being organized is a key to being a successful student. Schedule daily homework time in your house so it becomes a part of your family's routine. This also helps children to see that homework is a priority in your home.
- Meet your child's teachers. Keep the communication open. Discuss goal setting with both your child and the teacher. This partnership of parent-teacher-child will be very effective in the development of healthy homework habits which will, in turn, help children have a successful school year.
- Give your child genuine and frequent praise. Praise your child's progress, and don't focus on perfection. Let them know that you believe in them, you think they are special, and you have confidence in them. Let your child know that you recognize and value their efforts, not just their final accomplishments.
Hugs and blessings~