Six Bright Ideas for Back-to-School

Does your child have a hard time getting back into the swing of school after the summer months? These tips from Michele LoBosco, veteran educator and author of How to Ace the SAT Without Losing Your Cool and The SAT Success Workbook, can help your child start the school year right and maximize his or her chances for success.

  1. Encourage your child to do summer reading. Find books or even magazines that your child finds interesting or engaging and encourage him or her to read during the summer months. This will make the start of the school year less stressful and the habit of reading and doing schoolwork easier to adjust to.
  2. Create structure a few weeks before school begins. Children and teens often find the change in schedule difficult to adjust to. It can be helpful to begin integrating a school-night sleep pattern, a few extra responsibilities around the house, and a more regulated routine a few weeks prior to the start of the school year. (Most area public and private schools start at the end of this month, so that means now!)
     
  3. Create a safe space to communicate. It’s natural for kids to fear change or be anxious about having to go back to school. The start of a school year often brings with it a new teacher and a new routine, and often requires acclimating to new rules and procedures. Let your child know you are available for them and willing to discuss any concerns, and process any negative feelings.
  4. Create an environment at home that models a love of learning. It is important to role model the behaviors we seek in our children. Not only does this create trust and respect between parent and child, it sets the stage for the development of effective and positive habits. Students who have parents who read are more likely to read. Parents who enjoy lively and friendly debates on books and current events create an environment that will, likely, foster a love of discussion and learning.
  5. Provide your child with all the tools he or she needs to stay organized throughout the year. It is important to start the year off with organizational systems in place because a good organizational foundation can make all the difference between a successful and a not-so-successful year. Before the semester gets too hectic, be sure to provide you child with all the organizational tools he or she might need. A day calendar or a chalkboard (that is hung in a convenient place in your home) on which your child can write all his or her upcoming assignments, quizzes and school activities can help provide an organizational support system that serves to help him or her address and meet her school responsibilities throughout the year.
  6. Provide academic support. Students who have one or more parent involved in their education are more likely to do well in school. Ask your child if there are ways you can be of assistance, and try to be as available and supportive to his or her needs as possible. If your schedule is too busy, find out if there are tutoring or after-school assistance programs available in your neighborhood, and support your child by providing him or her with some one-on-one academic support.
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