Back-to-school season can be both an exciting and stressful time for students and families. The relaxing summer months are a great time to de-stress and unwind from the school year. However, transitioning back into daily schooling can be somewhat challenging. As summer ends and the upcoming school year approaches, there are many ways that families can prepare for the new school year to be successful.
For many students, during the summer months, routines change and may not be as rigid. Students are also likely going to bed and waking up later. Overall, summer days tend to have less structure. In order to prepare students for going back to school, it is important to establish healthy routines weeks before school starts. For example, parents can encourage their children to read for 30 minutes before bed each night. Reading before sleep has many benefits including reducing stress, improving the quality of sleep, and reducing exposure to screens before bedtime. Children can also begin going to bed at their normal school-year bedtime well before school starts. It is important for students to get a good night of sleep because quality sleep improves concentration, memory consolidation, and overall performance. These healthy habits help to reestablish nighttime routines for children.
Creating a healthy morning routine is equally important. Start-of-day routines can look different for everyone, but there are some great strategies to create a routine that allows families to feel in control and calm. Establishing routines can also help to improve sleep, overall health, and stress levels. For instance, begin by setting an alarm clock to wake up at the same time every morning. This action reinforces the circadian rhythm of the body, thereby allowing the body to function more efficiently. Eating a healthy breakfast every day is also key. A well-balanced breakfast boosts physical and mental energy. Some easy, healthy breakfast options include scrambled eggs, oatmeal with peanut butter, and yogurt with granola and fruit. Additionally, before leaving home for the day, kids should ensure they have all of their necessary materials. Forgetting items at home can cause stress for both children and parents, so making this a part of the morning routine can help. A consistent, healthy morning routine can make hectic mornings easier to manage for the whole family.
Create a Distraction-Free Workspace
In addition to establishing healthy morning and evening routines, creating a distraction-free workspace at home is important in preparation for a new school year. The proper workspace can improve concentration by channeling a student’s focus on their work as opposed to distractions that may be around them. This is particularly essential for parents of students who are in higher grades where students will likely have more independent work and studying to do at home. Before the school year begins, parents and their children should discuss the location and setup of a workspace that is conducive to a positive learning environment. A home learning space should have all needed materials organized for ease of access. Minimizing clutter in a workspace decreases the chance of items being misplaced, reduces stress, and increases a student’s ability to focus. Other ways to create a positive workspace include good lighting, a comfortable chair, and minimized distractions. Creating the workspace by a window is ideal, but a good lamp can also do the trick. If the workspace is near noisy areas of the house, noise-canceling headphones are a great way to minimize distracting sounds. While the workspace does not need to be perfect, these strategies can be implemented to create an environment conducive to working and learning at home.
Use Organization Tools
In higher grades in particular, more homework is assigned as well as more frequent tests and quizzes. Remembering the dates of different assignments and assessments can become a challenge as the workload gets heavier. Therefore, keeping due dates organized is crucial to a student’s success. One solution is to utilize a planner to record dates of assignments and assessments, then make it part of the daily routine to check the agenda for upcoming tasks. Another strategy is to keep a to-do checklist of tasks that need to be completed. While a planner may be better for big picture items, a checklist can be useful on a daily basis to write down tasks that need to be done in the shorter term. These organization strategies can be effective when used consistently by children, even when school is not in session. If you would like help improving organization and other skills, WorldWise Tutors can help teach personalized executive function strategies. This could entail developing routines, breaking down assignments into smaller tasks, and teaching how to plan and prioritize. Our tutors introduce these systems, helping students make adjustments to personalize and optimize them. Learn more about executive functions and how WorldWise Tutoring can help here.
As the new school year begins, keep these back-to-school strategies in mind to help students succeed both in and out of the classroom. Adjusting to a new school year can be difficult, but finding strategies that work for your children can help them to feel more in control, build confidence and independence, and truly thrive. WorldWise Tutoring can be a great resource for you and your students, particularly at the beginning of a new school year. WorldWise Tutors can help students of all ages and all abilities in all subjects – all while teaching the vital underlying learning and life skills. Click here for more information on how to find a tutor to help your student this upcoming school year.