Back to school time is creeping up.
For students this can bring a mix of feelings. From finding out what teacher and friends will be in our students' elementary class to what team of teachers our middle schooler may have or what classes our highschooler receives are all huge factors that set the stage for their school year. As parents and families there is a lot we can do to help support our students to have successful school years. Here are a few ideas to help lead your student to have their best school year yet.
Celebrate the Summer
Make sure to reflect and focus on the good things about your summer before moving on. Ask your student what they loved about this summer or why they enjoyed their summer time. Before we move on and set goals for the upcoming year we should reflect and appreciate the summer season that they just experienced.
Set Goals for the new Year
After appreciating the summer season, think back to last school year and look at what went well and what your student or you would like to improve on. What worked well for you last year and made you successful and what did not work. This can be anything from setting up a place to study that is a designated “quiet zone” to setting up a routine for making sure you leave the house quickly and efficiently with all of the school supplies needed for the day. The main areas to focus on are at the end of the day once school is over where will supplies go like lunch boxes book bags and extra curricular items. The night before classes is it helpful to premake lunches (or is your student old enough to pack their own lunch?) We found that looking ahead on Sunday evening was helpful to set out outfits and know of any theme days or if specific items we needed so we were not rushed to look for anything. It also helpful for students for you to set things up these goals together then slowly give them independence by backing off and letting them take ownership. This can help avoid issues where you might o do nothing and have them encounter any issues as they year begins and backtrack on setting up successful routines to help make them successful.
Share any worries and discuss
As with any life and schedule transitions there can be anxiety and nervousness. Our older students can express these big feelings for what they are, but in our younger students it may come across as irritability, headaches, upset tummies or sleeping disturbances. Make sure to have a conversation about any concerns they may have and provide a reassuring voice for them. Letting them know they are heard and you are going to be an advocate for them will help give them confidence and support they need to begin the new year successfully.
Create Schedules Together
With schedules changing it’s important to discuss what they will look like once school begins. The first two to three weeks are always a little tricky to see who is home when and what family members can help out with pick-ups, drop-offs and carpools. Sometimes it may mean shifting schedules and being flexible with when and how work and responsibilities get accomplished.
Discuss Household Responsibilities
I mentioned above having an open dialogue with your students and family about how tasks will be accomplished and how goals can be accomplished as a family team. Make sure your students are aware of their responsibilities first and that clear expectations have been set up for them. The main responsibilities we focus on are our kids making their beds and picking up clutter in their room on school days making their lunches and knowing they are able to use the washer and dryer they also help with cleaning the kitchen. Having this conversation will help lighten the load of responsibilities and students will know they are part of a family team with your support.
All of the above points work best with open communication and easily adjusted for different families and expectations. Taking the time to plan ahead and have these discussions will set up your family to ease into the school year and most importantly provide your student with a strong foundation to begin their year with confidence and support.
Jessica Stallings MA Ed. is a veteran teacher and tech writer. She is a National Board Certified Educator who values teaching the whole child and enjoys working with learners of all ages. Her favorite thing as an educator is to watch how technology motivates all different types of learners of varying ability levels. She hopes to empower learners and families to use technology to help connect them to and learn more about the beautiful world we live in. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she loves to spend time on the North Carolina coast with her family and dog, Fletcher.