Preparing for a Successful Back to School
Most parents and children are not even thinking about the back to school countdown. But, teachers, administrators, and students will once again be filling the halls and back to classes in just a few weeks.
The idea of “school readiness” has always been mostly referenced when related to cognitive skills needed for school. However, many studies have found that teachers aren’t as concerned with these things and feel that it’s more important that students function in the classroom by being confident, independent, and able to self-regulate.
To prepare for this, it’s crucial that parents implement strategies now to give their children a jump start before heading back to school.
Sleep, nutrition, and physical activity sometimes get put on the back burner during summer. But for children to be successful in school, parents need to begin implementing healthy habits again, such as early bedtimes, nutritious meals, and activities.
A few ways to support you family’s physical preparedness for school include:
- Create a schedule. Work together to develop a plan that will ease the transition into early mornings and full days. If you have young children, a colorful calendar or planner could also be a way to create together!
- Balance screen time with play. While we know the rising temps make it hard to spend very long outside, taking time to play, even inside, will get their physical development going – hide & go seek is a fun example for all ages!
The combination of the summer slide and the still-present detriments from COVID have been calamitous and contributed to even more learning loss. And although everyone feels a rush to make up for this, it’s important to ease back into learning and avoid a sudden cram of new information.
A few ways to support you family’s intellectual preparedness for school include:
- Read together. When’s the last time you visited your local library? Dust off that card and find a few books that you can read together, building intellectual skills and connection.
- Incorporate learning in trips and vacations. Take time away from the beach and long road trips by planning in detours to historical sites and learning activities. Feeling adventurous? Check out geocaching! It’s like a treasure hunt! Many can even be found in your own town!
With all the unsureness from the last two years, children have experienced anything from anxiety to depression to lack of motivation, among many other emotions. The constant emotional shifts have left everyone feeling uneasy, including parents.
A few ways to support you family’s emotional preparedness for school include:
- Be the role model. Ever heard that your kids are always watching you? They learn from your reactions and emotions as to how to view their world. Use managing your own emotions as a lesson for your child. If you’re stressed or angry, take time to yourself and reset before reacting.
- Regulate outbursts with questions. When your child feels overwhelmed, it may come out looking like an emotional rollercoaster. Take a second to ask what is going on so that you can come to a proper solution together. Some great questions to ask are: “Is your body hurt, or are your feelings hurt?” “I see you’re upset, do you need time to go (safe space in your home) before we talk?”
Finding fun, creative ways to get children back on track and ready for school will help them feel more confident again.
A few ways to support you family’s social preparedness for school include:
- Plan play dates. Going to the park or on an outing? Reach out to family or friends and invite them to join. Not only will this give you a break from your kiddos, but will also give your family the interaction it may be craving from being home during the summer.
- Find activities with a 4-D approach. Many organizations offer summer camps, parents’ days out, and more.
Here’s a few great local opportunities:
– Southwest Arkansas Taekwondo: We offer classes year round! In our program, children are exposed to physical training, cutting-edge brain training, a supportive environment, and age-appropriate social interactions. All these things, combined in one class, provide the most benefit to children in their development. This is especially effective for reigniting the learning process and building relationships again.
Excitement & Empowerment
Any new school year brings about some amount of anxiety. Students must be prepared when they enter the classroom and are excited and empowered. To do this, ample preparation is key, and we should approach our children’s development with a flexible mindset to create a safe space for them to reclaim their skill level and feel confident again.