Preparing Your Child for a Successful School Year
As the summer break draws to a close, it's time for caregivers to help their children transition back into the school year. Preparing your child for the upcoming school year involves more than just buying supplies and new clothes. It's about equipping them with essential study skills, teaching them effective organization strategies, and creating an open dialogue about the emotions and feelings that the school year brings. So how can you best prepare your child for a successful school year?
Setting your child up for success academically starts with helping them set goals for what they want to accomplish this year. You can begin by initiating a supportive and open conversation with your child about their interests, strengths, and areas they'd like to improve academically. Encourage them to reflect on their past school experiences, both the highs and the lows. Collaborate with them to establish specific, measurable, and attainable goals that align with their aspirations. It's important to break down these objectives into smaller, manageable steps and create a realistic timeline for achieving them. Then throughout the school year, keep the lines of communication open by regularly checking in with your child to monitor their progress and make any necessary adjustments along the way. Don't forget to provide positive reinforcement and celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how small. This process not only equips your child with valuable life skills but also empowers them to take ownership of their education and personal growth, setting the stage for a successful school year.
Establish a Consistent Routine:
Consistency is the key to successfully working towards goals. So it's important to help your child create a plan for how they’ll get their schoolwork done. Creating a daily study routine that includes set times for homework and breaks can minimize arguments about when and how to do homework and helps them develop strong study habits. Having a designated study space can also be a game changer. Designate a quiet, well-lit area for studying and make sure it's free from distractions like TV or video games.
Help them get organized:
Kids need help developing organizational skills. Caregivers can teach their child to:
Use Planners or Calendars - Provide your child with a planner or a digital calendar to keep track of assignments, tests, and important dates.
Prioritize Tasks - Teach your child to prioritize tasks by importance and deadline. This will prevent last-minute cramming and reduce stress.
Organize Materials - Ensure your child has all the necessary school supplies. Show them how to keep their backpack, folders, and binders organized and clutter-free. It's helpful to have a set time each week when you go through their materials with them and reset for the following week.
Talking About Feelings:
Children often experience a range of emotions related to school, from excitement to anxiety. Here's how to create a safe space for discussing these feelings:
Open Communication: Initiate regular conversations about school by asking open-ended questions. Instead of asking, "How was your day?" which often results in one-word answers, try asking open-ended questions like, "What was the best part of your day?" or "Can you tell me about something interesting that happened at school today?" This encourages them to share more details.
Active Listening: When your child talks about their feelings, listen without judgment. Validate their emotions and let them know that it's okay to feel the way they do.
Address Concerns: If your child expresses anxiety or stress, address their concerns empathetically. Validate first and then offer to help them come up with solutions, such as seeking help from a teacher, counselor, or tutor if needed.
Stay Positive: You're the best model for how your child will feel about school. Maintain a positive attitude about school and share your own positive school experiences and highlight the how school offered you opportunities for growth and learning.
Preparing your child for a successful school year goes beyond material preparations. By implementing these strategies, you can help your child build a strong foundation for academic achievement and emotional well-being. Remember that each child is unique, so be sure to tailor your approach to their individual needs and strengths. With your support and guidance, your child can confidently face the challenges of the upcoming school year.
Written by: Emily Duberman, LMSW