Back to School Transition Tips - Part 2

Back to School Transition Tips - Part 2

For some of us, our children have just gone back to school, but for others, it is just around the corner. In our previous blog, Back to School Transition Tips - Part 1, we addressed a few tips for success. In this continuation blog, we would like to dig a little deeper. 

1. Start adjusting from your child's summer sleep schedule to your child's school sleep schedule. Many parents are more relaxed about what time their child(ren) go to bed and wake up during the summer. Rather than abruptly switching their sleep schedule, make the switch more gradual, such as moving up bedtime by 30 minutes a day until you have adjusted it to their school sleep schedule. Same goes for waking up, make this adjustment gradual as well.

2. Set up a homework area for your child. Whether it be in their room, a study or in your living room, it is important that children have a place to do their homework and study. At the same time it is equally important that this area be stocked with all the items they will need to complete their assignments, such as pencils, paper, pens, markers, colored pens, glue and a calculator. Depending on the age of you child, this list will other items added to it.

3. Keep a consistent routine. For some children, they can function better on getting assignments completed after having a snack; others do their extracurricular activities, have dinner and then do their assignments; and still others do better with getting their assignments done as soon as they get home so they are free to do as they wish after it is complete. It is okay to play around with this routine to see what works best for your child, but once you have it figured out, it is best to stick with that routine.

4. Keep consistent with extracurricular activities. Whether your child is involved in martial arts, baseball, or some other extracurricular activity, it is important to keep your child consistently participating in those activities. These activities give your child's brain a break from the mental stimuli of their day. Although I cannot speak for other activities, I do know that in our Kuk Sool Won Martial Art School we make the activities less mentally taxing the first weeks back to school as we are aware that your child is likely already mentally wiped at the end of the day. The good thing is that their brains will adjust to the mental learning as the weeks go on and they will be ready for more mental challenges. These activities also allow your child to be just that, a child. Children thrive on physical activity and a need for socialization. Extracurricular activities allow them to meet those needs.

5. Help your child succeed and compliment them for their efforts. Children have an innate need to please. Some subjects are going to come naturally to your child and others will be more difficult. The same goes for assignments, some will seem like a walk in park and others will appear to have no end in sight. Have you ever had a work task so large that you did not know where to start? This is what our children are sometimes faced with. They may have a large book report with many sections to be completed. As a parent, you can help guide them along the way by breaking this project down into bite-size doable chunks and recording those deadlines on a calendar. As your child completes a section, sincerely praise their effort and mark that section off on the calendar. Just the process of your child seeing the work being completed will help them with perseverance and motivation. When the entire project is complete ask them questions such as "what did you most enjoy about that project?, what part of that assignment are you most proud of?, etc." This will encourage your child to take pride in the journey.

6. Help your child persevere and overcome challenges. No child is immune to challenges, but every challenge may be used as a learning opportunity. A great way to face challenges head on with your child is to become aware of those challenges. Rather than asking how was school today, ask your child more in depth questions such as what they most enjoyed about school that day, what challenges they faced, and what successes they had. This will help open up the lines of communication and invites them to expand on what happened. Some challenges you may be able to discuss and provide suggestions for, but should your child share with you that they are being bullied or cannot see the board from their desk, you are able to encourage them to speak up. If your child is worried about the consequence of speaking up, you could ask your child if she or he would like you to go with them to speak to their teacher. They key here is to catch challenges early so they do not snowball into large challenges.

7. Communicate regularly with your child's teacher. Just as you are asking your child about their day, be sure to openly communicate with your child's teacher. If there is a stressor in your family that may affect your child's performance of behavior, such as a divorce, a sick family member, or an upcoming vacation, communicate this to the teacher. At the same time, ask the teacher to communicate with you if they see something out of the ordinary. Be sure to also communicate outside successes to their teacher, such as winning a gold medal at the tournament. This will allow your child's teacher to have a glimpse into your child's life and interests outside of school. 

Back to school is an exciting time of the year for children. Here's to an amazing school year. May it be filled with joyous memories, many successes and overcoming challenges.

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