6 Tips for a great start to the school year
Open any social media post around this time and you will see the smiling pictures of kids going back to school and their happy parents. Happy parents because after a long summer, it feels great to have some resemblance of routine back. At the same time, back too are the struggles connected to school, homework and the million other things that need to get done. Back to school can feel overwhelming and the shininess of those new school supplies can wear off quickly.
Starting off the school year in a strong way makes a difference to the rest of the school year. Not just for your children, but for you as a parent as well. You are the one who during the year is the person who functions as a punching bag for the frustrations, who is the disciplinarian to get the homework done, and the cab driver for all the after school activities, tutoring and therapies. Not to mention being responsible for your job too!
We have written down 5 tips which may make this year different than what you are used to.
TIP 1 Start the day on a positive note.
Avoid the rush in the morning that drives you crazy and prepare as much as you can the night before. Not just you but you and your children together.
In the beginning it may be a hassle but the rewards will be sweet. You are teaching your children planning skills, the morning is less hurried because things are ready and everyone is calmer because of it.
TIP 2. Do not overschedule activities
Down time is important for your child’s health and growth. Running from activity to activity and having to do homework in between adds a lot of stress both to your life and your child’s life. Let go a little and relax.
Your child will have more time to do what he wants to do and most likely also for what he needs to do.
TIP 3. Catch problems early
When your child starts complaining about school, teachers or classmates, discuss with your child what the difficulties are. Hold off jumping in to help immediately. You want your child to develop problem solving skills and be independent.
Talk about what your child thinks she can do herself to change the situation. Who and when can she ask for help? What can she do differently?
TIP 4 Don't wait to ask for help
Don’t wait to talk to the teacher if you see that your child is really struggling.
At the beginning of the school year most teachers will tell you that they want to get to know your child first. Don’t be afraid to ask for a time to meet with the teacher or have a phone call. Don’t demand solutions from the teacher, but offer to think together about what you and she can do to help your child. Make clear that you are a team player and respect the teacher's professionalism, but you also know your child.
TIP 5 Never talk badly about the teacher with or in front of your child.
Do not badmouth the teacher. Even if the teacher is wrong, is doing a bad job, is not seeing nor appreciating your child. Your child will much more easily succeed in school if she knows how to communicate with the teacher.
That means at the basis respect and the acknowledgement that the teacher is another human being, with a life outside of school, and is most likely doing his or her best.
TIP 6 Give your children enough sleep.
Establish a routine around bed time. A time to wind down, calm down and get ready to go to sleep. That means not looking at bright screens about 45 minutes before bedtime. Bright light directly in the eyes stimulates the pineal gland. This is the gland that plays a major role in the production of melatonin, which you need to be able to sleep.
Tone down the light and have your child instead read a book or listen to a story or music. A before bed snack consisting of almonds, sunflower seeds or milk with honey in the meantime can help with becoming sleepy.
Your child will have more energy to be able to sit still, focus and listen to the teachers during the long hours of school.
Last but not least, the school year has just begun. You as a parent do not have to be perfect. You do not have to be good at everything you do. It is perfectly fine to ask for help in any area.
Let's work together to help your child be happier and feel successful. Contact us today.
Hanna Baer is an Educational Therapist with over 15 years of experience, co-founder of Neuro-fun Whole Child Therapy and mother of two amazing daughters. The one-of-a-kind program she and her husband Ben Baer developed improves the brain-body connection, behavior and learning skills. She helps children and young people feel happier and successful, helps parents and teachers to work together and improves parent-child relationships. Follow Hanna and Ben on Facebook.com/neurofunwholechild and instagram.com/neurofunwholechild