I love this time of year, don’t you? The smell of new books, the excitement of shopping for new school clothes or uniforms, packing your bag for the first day. While these are all positive feelings associated with getting ready for a new school year, sometimes the start of school can cause anxiety, for both parents and kids, and even teachers! So, to help you breeze into another school year and arrive feeling fresh and prepared, try these 5 Tips to Start the School Year Off On the Right Foot.
Organize your space and supplies: Set up an organized study environment. Help your child to clean their workspace, arrange their school supplies, and create a designated area for studying. Having an organized space can help improve your child’s focus and productivity. If you have the money (and time!) mix it up with a brightly coloured kids study desk chair or ergonomic desk.
Set clear goals: Help your child to define their academic and personal goals for the year. Whether it’s improving grades in a particular subject, joining a club, or working on a creative project, setting clear goals will give them direction and motivation throughout the year. Why not encourage your child to create a ‘goals mood board’, like the one below? They make a great back-to-school project for the last week of holidays and they’re also really beneficial for helping your child ‘forward-think’ and plan for their own success.
Create a schedule: Younger children need help with this, but teens can usually (though not if they have ADHD) develop a daily or weekly schedule that outlines their classes, study sessions, extracurricular activities, and downtime. Make sure to remind your child to allocate time for breaks and relaxation. A well-structured schedule can help them manage their time effectively and reduce last-minute stress. Weekly wall planners worked great for my kids. These can be purchased from stationery and department stores.
Build Healthy Habits: Remind your child to prioritize their physical and mental well-being. For younger kids, this is parent-structured, but for teenagers, point them in the right direction using apps, YouTube videos or even a gym membership. Ensure they’re getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and engaging in regular exercise. Additionally, set up for your child or encourage your teen to practice stress-relief techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing to manage any academic or personal pressures. Managing these things is different depending on your child’s age, but for teenagers, getting them involved in managing their own routine is key. Talk to your child about healthy habits. Plan for down-time from screens and agree on a set bed-time so teens get at least 8-9 hours of sleep. To help with mindfulness, research some apps that your teen can try on their phone.
Stay engaged and connected: Encourage your child to actively participate in class discussions, ask questions, and engage with their teachers and classmates. From my perspective as a teacher, the most successful students are not afraid to ask for help when they need it. Secondly, building strong connections within their school community can enhance their learning experience and provide a support network throughout the year. For example, joining a club at school, playing school sport or doing community service.
Remember that each child or family’s approach to the new school year may vary, so adapt these tips to your personal preferences and circumstances. Stay open to adjustments as the year progresses, and don’t hesitate to seek help or guidance when needed. Starting with a positive mindset and a proactive approach can greatly contribute to a successful school year.
Let the fun begin!