Six Simple Steps to Starting the New School Year Right
Ease into the New School Year with a Few Simple Routines
When the long, lazy days of summer end for many children it may be difficult to get them excited about the new school year. After all, who likes waking up early and doing homework after a carefree summer of fun, fun, fun? But to parents, the new school year offers a break from hearing the inevitable, “I’m bored!” or “I miss my friends!” complaint from their children.
Instead of starting the new school year cold-turkey, ease your child into the new school year (or prepare him for attending school for the first time ever) by establishing routines both the beginning and ending of the day. Routines not only let children know what to expect, but they can offer comfort as well. Here are a few tips on how to make that first few days of school easier for everyone involved:
1. Start waking your child up at a the normal school year wake-up time.
This is especially important if your child has been able to sleep until he wakes himself up during the summer months. If your child’s normal waking up time is very different from the time he’ll need to wake up during the school year consider easing him into the new time by waking him up 15 minutes earlier, then 30 minutes earlier, then 45 minutes over the next few days.
2. Limit the amount of television your child watches in the morning.
If your house rule is “no TV” in the morning on a school day, start the routine now to wean him off the tube.
3. Start each day with a good healthy breakfast.
While you may not eat a lot of food for breakfast, little tummies need food more often than adults to, and need something to jump-start their body and brain in the morning. Look for high-fiber, high protein foods, such as peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, eggs or yogurt.
4. Start or create normal routines you want for the school year.
Decide upon things that will help your day run smoothly, such as your child making his bed before he comes down to breakfast, changing into school clothes before eating breakfast, or laying out the next day’s clothing the night before. Consider posting a list of the things that need to be done before leaving for school. Post the list in a conspicuous area where you are sure to see it everyday.
5. Do some activity in the morning.
Even mild activity, such as stretching or taking the dog for a short walk can get the brain and body in sync and help get your child’s brain get ready for learning. Homeschooling parents especially should remember that traditional schools have a break or recess time, so let your child get up and stretch or play outside from time to time to keep his mind working at pique performance.
6. Ease your child into his regular school-night bedtime.
For example, if you let your child stay up later during the summer, send him to bed earlier by 15 minutes the next few days until he reaches the normal time. According to an article from the WebMD.com, children ages 3 to 6 years old should get 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night, children 7 to 12 years old need 10- 11 hours, and students 12 to 18 years old need 8 to 9 hours. Since it may be difficult for children to go to sleep while it is still light outside, make the room as dark as possible, or switch the position of your child’s bed so it is farther away from the bright window.
While the tips in this article won’t guarantee student success in the classroom, they will help your student start off on the right foot, and help get your life and your child's life more organized.