As your students return back to the classroom, it can be quite overwhelming to get back into the groove of things. Many students have become accustomed to the plethora of free time summer provides, variances in their sleep schedules, and more time with their friends. Though these changes are inevitable, it doesn't have to be difficult to help your students start the school year off strong. Here are a few tips to help you and your family get back on track and allow your students to feel confident and energized for the school year:
"As always, prevention is cheaper than remediation. But prevention is not free. You must invest “up front” if you want to reap the dividends for the remainder of the semester"¹
- Establish a routine: Success often lies in routine. In fact, according to Dr. Fred Jones', the author of the award-winning book "Tools for Teaching," “Investing time in the teaching of classroom procedures is a classic example of proactive versus reactive management. As always, prevention is cheaper than remediation. But prevention is not free. You must invest 'up front' if you want to reap the dividends for the remainder of the semester"¹. Though you are operating outside of the classroom, this concept still reigns true. Investing in the creation and maintenance of routines in the home can pay dividends in terms of academic success. Every parent's routine may look a little different, but the foundation for successful students tends to be the same. Oftentimes, this routine includes consistent rising and bedtime routines, dedicated time for homework or study, preparation for the next school day (school lunch prep, backpack prep, etc.), and a consistent morning routine to get students out of the door and to school on time and ready to learn. These seemingly simple routines are a big part of success, as understanding of the importance of at-home educational prep and predictability help students understand what is expected of them.
- Time to decompress and connect: Routines are important, but the workday you've had and the school day your student has had can be a little overwhelming. A key component of your routine involves time for decompression and connection. Whether this involves connecting with your child about how their school day was over snacks or simply watching an episode of their favorite show together, it's important to still allow time to destress and connect with your child. Though getting things like homework done are important, those items wouldn't be possible without all parties being able to release stressors from the day and connect with one another in a way that allows you both to feel emotionally supported.
- Parent involvement: It is not secret that a very important piece of the educational puzzle is you, the parent that supports their student. As your student begins this new school year, your involvement will make all the difference. Help your student feel supported by being involved in things such as:
- Completion of homework: Though it’s been quite a while since we’ve been in school, some concepts can truly become easier when a parent is involved in the learning process. When possible, take some time to sit down with your child, navigate the difficulties they may be having with that particular assignment or subject, and reassure them that you are here to support them. This aspect alone can truly help them understand that education is by no means a solo journey. With your support, your student can achieve anything!
- Help your student study: Though studying can be done alone, it can become even more effective with a parent or a peer involved. Take the opportunity to use flashcards or other similar quiz type of methods to test your student’s knowledge and help them understand where they could study a bit more. Throughout this process, you will show them that you are here to support them and help them refine their studying methods to become more effective and efficient learners.
- Regular communication with teachers: You are the key to helping your student’s teachers understand how learning is going at home. If you see your child struggling, it may be worth letting their teacher know in an effort to come up with remedies.
- Address anxiety: Going back to school can be a little scary for children. From a new teacher to new students and lessons, children can become a little apprehensive about the school year. To address this, begin by informing them of what to expect such as when and how they are getting to and from school, what their school day will look like, and what to expect after school. This predictability will help to ease their minds. In addition, if they tend to be a little nervous about knowing where things are, try to go to your school’s open house or walk around the school with them after school has ended to help them get a feel for where things like the bathrooms or the cafeteria are. Once children become familiar with routines inside and outside of the classroom as well as the layout of the building, it will become less scary and easier for them to approach learning with an open mind.
Adjusting back to the school season can be quite challenging, but with intentional effort, this school year has the potential to be the best one yet. Form the routines and habits that work for you and your family and watch your student(s) thrive!
- Jones, D. F. (n.d.). Rules, routines, and standards in elementary and secondary grades. Rules, Routines, and Standards in Elementary and Secondary Grades. Retrieved September 4, 2022, from https://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/columnists/jones/jones002.shtml