Lakewood, WA — Much to the disappointment of many children, summer vacation doesn’t last forever. As the days of summer dwindle, how can parents help their children prepare to head back to school? “Young children especially will need their parents’ encouragement to reestablish the structure of a school schedule and prepare themselves mentally for the classroom,” says Erica Hwang, Director of the Huntington Learning Center of Lakewood. Hwang offers the following tips to ready your child for a brand new year:
Reestablish a routine. While enjoying the freedom of summertime, perhaps your family has been relaxed about a set dinner and bed time these past months. Two or three weeks before the first day of school, start having your child go to bed a little earlier each night and get up at around the same time he or she would for school. Minimize television time in the evenings as you would on a typical school night.
Get organized. Staying organized is the key to children’s school success, so help your child establish a system for storing to-be-completed, graded and to-be-handed-in assignments (such as a pocket folder) and supply him or her with a small notebook for recording homework and other responsibilities. Also, have your child neaten his or her desk or work area, and be sure he or she has everything necessary to keep it well-organized. If you don’t have one already, hang a family calendar in a visible location where you and your child can note test dates, homework due and other important dates.
Set goals. Goal-setting is a great way for your child to reflect on past successes or challenges and apply those lessons in the coming year. Have your child write down several things he or she would like to accomplish this year – help a new student make friends or earn a better grade in math than the year before – and how he or she plans to achieve these goals. To encourage work ethic and recognize progress, set achievement milestones and corresponding rewards, such as a trip for ice cream or to the movies.
Make it fun. Every adult knows the emotions of going back to work after a relaxing and fun vacation, so try to empathize with how your child is feeling, but encourage him or her to think of the bright side. A new year means new friends, challenges and opportunities. Remind your child of a fun school memory from last year, a friend he or she will see again or something else that might lift his or her mood. Take your child shopping and let him or her pick out a new backpack or first day outfit. Or, let your child host an end-of-summer party or sleepover with a few close friends to beat those back-to-school blues.
Parents can help their children get off to a great start this school year by taking a few small preparatory steps. Hwang adds that if a child had difficulty in school last year, it is important for his or her parents to seek help – sooner rather than later. “Problems don’t disappear over the summer,” says Hwang. “It’s very natural for students who have struggled in the past to be anxious about returning to a place they find intimidating. At Huntington, we work with these children in a one-to-one setting to build skills and confidence so they can discover for themselves how fun learning and school can be.”
For more information, please contact Erica Hwang at (253) 582-4901.Print This Post