By PATRICK MCNAMARA
The inevitable last minutes of summer are ticking away. The countdown has begun for back-to-school once again. And along with it, major retailers are bombarding parents, making sure they hurry out and buy the coolest new outfits, backpacks and gadgets for their kids. This hyped-up, commercial back-to-school rush to equip students with new garments and gear often gets in the way of the real preparations that parents and kids should focus on for a successful school year: learning.
To help parents and students start the school year strong, we’ve compiled a list of tips for and students to help start the year off and focus on academic achievement. Start early so you’re both well prepared for the new year.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to finish summer work. It will be the last week of summer before you know it. Make sure your child doesn’t fall behind on their summer reading or any other work they had for the summer. Even if your child didn’t have a check list of work to complete be sure they are doing some summer studying so they don’t suffer from summer learning loss. Use the last few weeks to have them read each day, do some math problems or science projects. This will greatly help the transition into the new school year.
- Reintroduce regular meal times. During summer months, kids tend to grab a snack several times during the day. Parents can start reminding students to get back into a three-meal-a-day schedule in order to regulate their system into the back-to-school mode. Nutrition is an important factor in academic performance, and eating a healthy, balanced breakfast and lunch keeps kids alert throughout the day.
- Create a family calendar. Time management is tricky for everyone, especially kids and teens, but planning is an important way to save everyone’s sanity. Having major deadlines, due dates, events and extracurricular activities in one place helps kids visualize their week, manage their time and stay on track.
- Don’t ditch good habits. If you and your child have established a good summer learning routine, when school starts try not to forsake all of the fun reading, writing and art activities that kept your child engaged all summer.
- Shop for school supplies together. Allow your child to pick out a new backpack or lunch box to get them excited for the school year. Give them a sense of ownership for their new things by picking out the supplies on their list.
- Set up a homework station. Know where your child will go to do their homework every day. Let them choose a place that works for both of you so it’s quiet enough for them but you’re accessible if necessary.
- Impose the two-week rule. With later bedtimes over the summer, children need to ease back into their school routine rather than having a sudden change their first day of school. Using the last two weeks of summer to re-introduce a school year bedtime routine will make waking up on that first day a lot easier.