Even though we are in a middle of a heatwave, schools are back in session and kids are making the transition very often from unlimited free time to an organized and structured schedule. This can often be a challenge for them. The US Department of Education has posted some tips to help make this transition a little smoother. Here are some of the ideas they have recommended.
- Remember to read: While summer may have meant a more relaxed routine, try to set aside time to read with your kids. At this time of the year, your local public library likely has a display of back-to-school themed books, including children’s picture books, children’s chapter books, and young adult novels. Pick one off the shelf or ask the librarian for some suggestions. For a change of pace, online learning games may promote reading skills that your child can apply in all subjects areas.
- Be there to ease transitions: Starting a new school or moving from one grade to the next, for example, moving from elementary to middle school, can mean adjustments for kids—new route to school, new schedule, or new classmates. Try to assist in the transition by visiting the school with younger kids before classes start, maintaining routines at home for a sense of a familiar environment, or attending any parent orientation the school provides. Get tips for talking to kids about changes and coping with stress. Keep the lines of communication open and listen to your child.
- Support homework: Show kids that homework is a priority. Establishing a standard time and maintaining a schedule can help. Determine a routine place for your child to do homework—a desk or the kitchen table. Try to keep it uncluttered, but have supplies they may need, like pencils, a ruler, and scissors handy in a drawer or a basket. There is an abundance of online resources available today to help kids with their schoolwork. Many sites enrich and personalize your kid’s experience and numerous information sources can aid in students’ comprehension. Get online with your child and find libraries at the local, state, and federal levels in your area that may help kids with school projects.
- Pack nutritious lunches and snacks: Following dietary guidelines can help ensure your child has the proper nutrition to perform well in school. Promote a healthy, active lifestyle by encouraging kids to help with packing their lunch or trying a new recipe with nutritious ingredients.
- Stay active: With the return of school can come more time spent indoors, but don’t forget to keep physical activity a part of the daily schedule. Encourage the whole family to get moving for 60 minutes a day. Play tag in your yard or neighborhood park, for example. Staying active and getting the wiggles out can help your child focus on homework and relieve stress.
- Try a new extracurricular activity: Afterschool programs are a way for kids to form new friendships, develop teamwork skills, and improve academic proficiencies. Look into programs that may be offered at your child’s school, or your local community center may have activities that could help your child explore a new hobby or discover a new passion. Is he interested in music, theater, or soccer? Is she curious about chess, robots, or world languages? And afterschool professionals can check out ED’s You for Youth (Y4Y) online community for ideas and strategies. We hope you have found some of these tips helpful in getting back into the swing of the busy school season. Now let’s get out and enjoy this beautiful fall season, the reason many of us live in Minnesota!
Until next time. ~Katherine