It’s that time of year - summer’s winding down, and the days are slowly but surely getting shorter and cooler. The question inevitably arises – whether your child is a kindergartener heading to school for the first time or transitioning to middle or high school – how can I, as a parent, do everything I can to ease that back-to-school transition?
There are myriad ways to help ensure that your child’s physical, mental and educational well-being are maintained in what can sometimes be a very stressful and challenging transition to a new school year. Below are six of our strategies:
- Keep active
Your children have probably spent quite a bit of time in the hot summer sun and are going to need to adjust to spending far more time indoors when they come back to school. Given this, it is important to ensure physical activity remains part of their daily life. Encourage your children to spend at least 60 minutes engaged in some sort of physical activity beyond the activity they will get at school. You can encourage this as a family or neighborhood activity.
- Embrace extracurricular activities
In addition to helping students remain active, extracurricular activities can be an excellent way to help students adapt to the all-important social environment of a school – especially if your child happens to be a new student. Extracurricular activities can also include fun leisurely activities, supplemental educational resources, creative artistic outlets or even opportunities for students to benefit their local community.
- Eat well
Don’t forget the importance of nutrition in student learning and achievement. Eating a nutritious breakfast can help ensure improved standardized test scores, as well as better performances in math and reading. Breakfast is also essential in helping students pay attention and retain more of what they learn. Bottom line: a breakfast should definitely be a part of your child’s back-to-school agenda!
- Get in a solid 8 hours
In addition to diet, getting enough rest is essential to a student’s emotional and mental well-being. Whether it be vacations or just enjoying summertime activities late into the evening, it’s likely your child has gotten out of their normal, school-time sleeping patterns. Students with poor sleep have difficulty taking in new information, and it is just as essential to get a good night sleep after learning something new in order to both process and retain new lessons or concepts. Sleep, of course, can also impact your child’s mood, which in turn can also influence their ability to learn.
- Support learning at home
Homework is an essential tool in not only supporting and complementing new concepts, but it is also key in helping students learn important organizational and self-management skills. As a parent, you can help support this educational endeavor by making homework completion a priority. While your parental instincts may push you to help your child struggling with a certain assignment, it’s a better idea to contact your child’s teacher so he or she can reinforce a particular concept with your child directly.
- Be involved at school
Whether it’s ensuring good communication with your child’s teachers or volunteering as a class parent, studies have consistently shown a bevy of educational benefits when parents become engaged with their school communities. It also helps if your child suffers from separation anxiety. Click here to read our tips to help your child overcome the back-to-school jitters.
Need some ideas for extracurricular activities? Check out our fall offerings for After-School Adventures, Oak Knoll’s extended-day program. It offers a series of enrichment programs open to the public, including sports, art, dance, science and more!