Back to School Tips

By, Elizabeth Agresta, Assistant Principal

Preparing Your Children For a Successful School Year

Summer is the time when parents and children eagerly await the beginning of a new school year. Parents want their children to be safe, happy, and successful. Children want to enjoy their friends and learning experiences. However, many parents have discovered that children’s success in school does not happen without intentional preparation, especially in the areas of academics, behavior, and organization. Children’s success is dependent upon a strong partnership between home and school. This article provides some proactive steps parents can take to help their children be successful throughout their educational experience, beginning on the first day of school.

Establish a Morning Routine that Sets Your Child Up for Success

Children of all ages need to have a morning routine that results in an on time school arrival. Planning a routine that allows your child to arrive to school each day on time with a positive mindset is one of the most important things you can do throughout the school year. However, this is not always as easy as it sounds. Parents can prepare the perfect morning routine, but there can be glitches. Whether it’s a six year old who takes 20 minutes to get dressed or a middle school student who will not get out of bed, these behaviors can usually be changed with intentional preparation and practice. Preschool and elementary age children often respond positively to games that encourage them to complete their tasks in a timely manner, such as getting dressed. Middle school students need to agree to a clearly defined set of expectations for getting prepared the night before and waking up and getting ready in the morning. This requires regular conversations between parents and children, and actual practice before school begins.

Expect Your Child to be Responsible

It can sometimes be tempting for parents to do things for their children that the children are capable of doing for themselves. After all, it’s much faster. However, as children grow and mature, the more parents do for them, the less responsible the child becomes. This lack of responsibility can carry over into their academic responsibilities in school. Consider what responsibilities your child can begin practicing before school begins. For instance, if your child is old enough to make his/her own lunch, or even part of a lunch, he/she can start over the summer. When school starts, it will be easier to continue making lunch.

Make a Plan

Discuss the previous school year including what went well and what areas could be improved. Include a plan for when and where homework will be completed. Help your child to not only set goals for the new school year, but to write them down and make a plan for how he/she plans to accomplish these goals. Discuss the plan with your child and continue to revisit and adjust as needed during the school year.

Provide Helpful Tools

Some children struggle with organizational skills. Parents can provide tools to assist with organization and increase their child’s confidence. Summer time is the perfect time to plan on using some of the following tools that could assist your child.

  • Create a Morning Checklist: Create a checklist for your child to review each morning before going out the door. This checklist could include items such as backpack, homework, snack, lunch, projects, and extra space for add-ons such as a field trip permission slip.
  • Create a Bedtime Checklist: Create a checklist to help your child prepare for the next morning. This checklist could include: Homework in backpack, backpack by the door, uniform ready, sports uniform packed, morning snack packed.
  • Maximize the Potential of the Cell Phone: Cell phones can be used for more than texting. They are filled with applications for organizing, reminding, scheduling, etc. Many students who use cell phones have a variety of helpful applications in the palm of their hand. Take some time to learn about what is available and how it could be used to assist your child. Find a few helpful applications and let your child select the one that he/she feels most comfortable using.

Discuss Friendships

Talking about friendships is often overlooked. Helping your child learn how to be a good friend can be very beneficial to the learning process. When children are happy with their peers, they are less likely to be worried or distracted. Discuss characteristics of a good friend with your child, such as not dominating conversations, sharing equipment at recess, and using words to encourage others. Following these suggestions and other helpful advice can help children to be well liked by peers.

Get into a Learning Rhythm

Limit your child’s digital entertainment each day and increase their time spent reading, writing, or problem-solving. Be sure your child has completed all summer work that was sent home by the teacher.

Be Intentional & Plan Ahead

You may have heard the quote by Benjamin Franklin, “If you are failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” Don’t fail to plan for a very successful school year for you and your child/children. It may require some practice and intentional conversations, but it will be worth it.

Wishing you a wonderful school year ahead. And if there is anything that I can do to be of assistance in helping your family with the beginning of a new school year, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Agresta, Assistant Principal

St. Cecelia Interparochial Catholic School is located in Clearwater, Florida. It’s not too late to come and check out our school.  Call us today to arrange a tour. We are looking forward to meeting your family!

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