For many students, a new school year is just around the corner, and with it comes return of an organized academic schedule. Here are some tips on how to re-establish routines that may have been lost over the summer without the structure of a school day.
- Plan daily activities. Help your child plan for the day ahead. Let him or her pick out clothes for the next day, plan and pack lunches, and make a schedule of the day's activities.
- Re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines. During the summer, your child may have had the freedom to go to bed a little later and have meals anytime during the day. Explain to your children that a consistent bedtime and mealtime will help them feel better and make it easier to balance homework and other school activities.
- Encourage activities that inspire learning. One of the easiest ways to get your child focused on school again is to introduce activities that will help him or her learn. Limit technology time and encourage your child to read, do puzzles or complete an art project to reinforce a learning mindset.
- Take a school visit and discuss the first day. If school has not started in your location, help your child get more comfortable in his or her environment with a visit to school before the first day. Together, you can find your child's classroom, meet teachers, and locate key areas, such as the lunch room or a hall locker. A familiar environment can help children be less apprehensive about their first day.
- Emphasize the positive things about going back to school. A new school year is a chance to reconnect with old friends and get involved with sports and other activities. For students attending a school for the first time, it's an opportunity to meet new people and try different things. If your child seems nervous, listen to those concerns and address them in a constructive way.
For children with special needs, it's also important to make sure you have an updated version of your child's individualized education plan. The IEP should include accurate reflections of your child's needs and abilities with positive, strength-based objectives. You may also consider ideas such as a meet-and-greet page that highlights your child's abilities. Let your child contribute as much as possible with information on his or her strengths and motivational tools to help get through the day.
A new school year is the perfect opportunity to create healthy routines for your family and set your child on the path for success all year long.