For many children, the start to a new school year doesn’t only mean new teachers and new friends, it can also be a source of anxiety with homework assignments and tests just around the corner. Starting the school year off on the right foot can help minimize a child’s stress level throughout the year.
Parents could help their children prepare for the transition to the next grade level and the return to school by encouraging a structured routine and staying actively involved in their child’s education.
To help children get ready for the new school year and to minimize academic stress, Sylvan Learning offers these tips and ideas to make the transition from summer to school easier. Tips include back–to-school suggestions and specific hints for the transitional years:
Back-to-School Tips (for each new school year):
- Get back in the routine. Ease transition from lazy summer days to the structure of the school year by re-establishing bedtime, mealtime, reading and homework routines. Talk with your child about the importance of these routines and how they help ensure that he is not overtired or overly anxious about schoolwork or the next day of school.
- Set education goals. Help your child set goals at the very beginning of the year. Whether it is striving for an A in reading, handing in all homework on time or preparing for tests well in advance, setting goals can help set the routine for the new year.
- Develop a relationship with your child’s teacher. Teachers can be the best source for information about your child’s scholastic performance and they can recommend ways to help your child or resolve any difficulties he or she is having.
- Homework routine and place. Designate a specific time and place for homework and help your child discover a regular, quiet place where he can study. Make sure that the area is free from potential distractions and that study tools are at your child’s fingertips to keep her focused on homework and studying.
- Stay on schedule. Your child should keep a schedule of all classes, assignments, and key dates, such as project deadlines and test dates. As part of that schedule, she should include specific times for studying, projects, and extracurricular activities. The more thorough the schedule, the more efficient your child will be. Organization minimizes late nights completing homework assignments, cramming for tests at the last minute, and can ultimately reduce student anxiety about school.
- Emphasize organization. For some students, having color-coded binders for each subject helps them stay on track throughout the school year. Keeping notes organized helps test preparation later in the year, so work with your child to determine the best method for him.
- Encourage learning at home. Promoting learning outside of the classroom helps children perform better in school. To nurture reading skills spend at least one hour per week, ten to fifteen minutes a day, reading with your child. To enhance math proficiency, try allowing your child to help plan the next family trip and encourage him to compute miles, cost of gas, expenses for food, hotel, and entertainment.
Click here for tips for students in transition years—children starting kindergarten, first grade, middle school, or high school.
For more educational resources for children in grades pre-K through 12, please visit www.SylvanLearning.com.
Written by: Hillary Malone, Sylvan Learning of West Michigan