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Stepping into a New School Year on the Right Foot

A Parent’s Guide to Creating Smooth Transitions for a Successful Start to the School Year

It seems like we were just sharing how to prepare for a summer of learning fun, but now that summer break is coming to an end, it’s time to gear up for a successful school year. Ensuring that the first days and weeks are met with positive attitudes and outcomes requires a little prep work on the home front. By establishing routines and preparing for the upcoming school year before the eve of that first day, kids can rise and shine on day one with the confidence and mindset to make this a great year.

Practice Runs - While setting the alarm to get up a little earlier is something we all may want to put off as long as possible, making sure kids can get moving, functioning, and ready for learning is important. Bedtimes can’t suddenly change the night before that first day with the expectation that kids will be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for all the school day holds. These 5 tips will help the mechanics of those first days much easier.

  1. At least a week or more of early to bed and early to rise should be on the agenda to help kids get their sleep patterns switched over from the lazy days of summer.
  2. Make those last few mornings of summer practice runs for getting up, dressed, nourished, and out the door on time.
  3. Planning lunchtime based on the school’s schedule will also help keep the grumbellies away and get kids’ internal clocks in sync with their upcoming schedules.
  4. For the little ones, put together some packed lunches with all the containers, straws, and other possible obstacles they’ll need to do on their own.
  5. For the older kids but newer drivers, hop in the car together for a practice lap or two to the school pointing out school zones and other important stopping/slowing points along their route.

Positive & Upbeat - While everyone may be sad to see the last days of summer ticking away, it’s important to keep the negativity at bay. Rather than talking about all the fun summer activities that will be ceasing, help kids get excited about all of the new opportunities and possibilities that the school year will bring. With personally chosen school supplies and some spiffy, new first-day duds ready to go, start talking about catching up with friends, working on new projects, reading new books, trying new things, etc. It’s time to add a positive soundtrack by humming a little of Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive and get kids in the right mindset for a new school year.

Set Goals - Help kids start thinking about the upcoming school year by working together to create 3 goals to achieve. These could be academic, personal, or a mixture of both. Academic goals may include, turning in all homework, creating study cards, improving math skills or increasing reading levels, etc. Personal goals may be to avoid conflict, make two new friends, join an extra-curricular activity, etc. Talking about the upcoming school year and how to tackle it will help to ease some of the stresses that may be bubbling beneath the surface and help kids come up with a game plan that ensures success.

Supply Lists - Most schools post or send supply lists based on the grade, subject, and/or teacher. Be sure that kids have everything they will need. Make it a fun trip to the store to pick up all the must haves. By letting kids choose designs and colors (if allowed), they are taking the first step toward feeling a sense of pride and ownership when it comes to their learning journey. Having a spiral with Captain America or a sparkly purple cover may be just what they need for a little extra motivation. Pay attention to the supplies they need in the classroom, and grab some extras to stock their learning spaces at home.

Home Learning Spaces - Making sure kids have everything they need in the classroom is important, and creating a learning space at home is a great way to keep the educational momentum going outside of school. Whether it’s decorating an area in their room, a space in a common area, or a learning cart, bin, or crate, showing your kids that you value learning and want to see it flourish at school AND at home can be very telling in their educational successes. Add some color, favorite characters/interests, cool lighting, cozy furnishings, etc. to encourage kids to enter their home learning zones to study, complete homework, pursue educational interests, and so much more!

One of the most important things to help kids start off the school year right is the support of their parents. By establishing school day routines, remaining positive, setting goals, providing supplies, and creating learning zones at home, parents are showing their kids that education is valued. Knowing there is a support system on the home front to help them navigate this new chapter in their educational journey can be just what kids need to form a positive outlook for a successful year.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.

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