Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Get 'Em In-Gear for a Great School Year!

The summer vacation time has always been a great season to reconnect with family and friends at a much more leisurely pace. Travel and enjoyable activities both indoors and in the sun can do much to help all of us recreate and refresh. This is especially true for children who have a chance during the summer months to experience important downtime, allowing for more creativity and reading for enjoyment than during the much more structured school year.

However, how can we best get them ready for late August or early September when the new school year begins? There are a few ways parents can do this, ways that are relatively painless and that may even go unnoticed by the children! Here are a few great ways to start the ball rolling to get your kids in-gear to begin the new school year:

GREAT Ways to Get Kids In-Gear for the New School Year

1. Get the children to bed on time. During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule. However, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your child get used to the back-to-school routine: start the transition now to earlier wake-up times and bedtimes. Structure and consistency are very important here.

2. Provide for healthy meals. Hungry kids can’t concentrate on learning, so good nutrition plays an important role in your child’s school performance. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school. Fix nutritious meals at home, and, if you need extra help, find out if your family qualifies for any Child Nutrition Programs, like the National School Lunch Program (see link below for additional information).

3. Prepare a study area. Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.

4. Read Together. Take the pledge to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together. Change it up and promote variety by including read-alouds, sustained and independent silent reading and discussions about what you read. Do it TOGETHER!

5. Talk about and discuss ways to manage or limit school stress. If you or your children are overly anxious about performance in school, work through your negative beliefs, especially the beliefs about the implications of school failure. Challenge those negative thoughts that the worth of a person or future prospects hinge entirely on academic grades. Good performance will be achieved only when you and your children manage or overcome your fears and discover your own personal worth.

6. Set goals. Enjoy setting goals for your children and yourself, so weaknesses can be transcended and full potentials can be reached. Study goals must be realistic and achievable. For example, encourage small steps to reach higher targets.

7. Motivate the need to learn. Achieving some goals will certainly motivate children to reach more challenging targets. Another motivating factor would be to understand that a child works primarily for herself and her future career. Apart from the external rewards that parents may promise, a child or teen must understand that studying well is an opportunity for self-development and personal improvement.

8. Provide interesting learning opportunities that engage your child. To encourage your children or teens to prepare for the new school year, expose them to activities that inspire them to learn about things that interest them. A visit to a museum in a particular area of interest for the child is a place to start. A day trip to several libraries outside your usual locale can also be a good idea. Look into library and civic programs that may be offered over the summer months at little or even no cost.

Additional Important Tips for Parents

1. Communicate with teachers and the school. Contact your child’s teachers at the start of the school year. Get acquainted with them and let them know you want to be an active partner in helping your student to learn and grow. Plan to keep track of your child’s subjects, homework, activities and progress throughout the school year. And, consider serving on your local PTA or joining other parent groups that engage with and support your child’s school.

2. Take your child to the doctor, and make sure your child has health insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. So, check your state’s immunization requirements (see link below for additional information). And, always keep your own copies of any medical records.

Sources & Resources

Get in Gear for the New School Year: Back-to-School Tips for Parents by

Eight tips to start the new school year by My English Pages

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

State Vaccination Requirements

For information about tools & resources for children & teens with reading challenges, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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