The new school year is only days away, and it is time to make sure your child’s backpacks are ready and be certain they have finished their summer work. Here at Jacksonville Country Day School, our faculty and staff receive many questions from parents about how to best prepare their children for a successful school year. To answer these questions, we asked some of our teachers (who are also parents!) for their favorite back-to-school tips.
“Establish routines! Don’t wait until the day before school starts to start putting your children to bed early. Routines help with establishing expectations as well as help to develop healthy, constructive habits.” –Wendy Johnston, JCDS Kindergarten Teacher
Children who have routines typically have better time-management skills, as well as self-discipline in regards to eating right and getting enough sleep for example. Routines also help you, as a parent, to keep track of daily tasks, and this can promote a stress-free household.
Get excited about going back school
“As parents, we need to emotionally prepare our children to change the routine when transitioning from summer to the school year. At my home, we usually talk about the switch beforehand and all the excitement that comes with the start of school. Children can look forward to the simplest of items like new sneakers or a new lunchbox.” –Jen Currie, JCDS Literacy Specialist
Be encouraging and find teachable moments
“Don’t forget the importance of reminding your children that you are proud of their hard work and efforts.” –Kate Krawiec, JCDS 1st Grade Team Lead
There is so much pressure on children these days, and they need to know that mistakes are a chance to learn and that their hard work isn’t going unnoticed. Focus on three positive things that happened during the day, and then ask if there is one thing they would change or need help with. Use these as teachable moments, and make sure your children feel safe and loved when they are sharing with you.
Foster a sense of personal responsibility
For the older children in your life: “Put more responsibility on the kids to do their homework and other activities.” –Lauren Ellis, JCDS 1st Grade Teacher
Instead of parents being the ones to remind a student of their homework, have your student establish goals and routines for which they themselves are responsible. As they complete or attempt to complete their assignments and activities, provide them with a few positive notes for a job well done. These are habits that will be favorable at home and at school during classroom time.
Take a mental break
After school: “Something really important to kids of all ages is having downtime, allowing them to be a kid and relax or go out and play.” –Tejal McLeod, JCDS 4th Grade Teacher
At the end of the day, these hard-working students are still kids and need mental breaks — time to just be a kid. The transition from summer to the start of the school year can be exhausting. Fatigue can often lead to emotional meltdowns and trying to force homework as soon as children get home can make the situation worse. Allowing your children to relax and have some time away from their schoolwork can make the school days (and nights) more manageable.
The quotes from this article are from parents who are also teachers who have experienced both sides of the school day. Preparation for success looks different to anyone you ask, and these are just a few of our favorite tips.
Which tips do you find the most beneficial?
About Jacksonville Country Day School
Through intellectual exploration — which involves project-based and transformative learning experiences, Jacksonville Country Day School prepares students for success at the next academic level and beyond. Strengthened by a supportive and nurturing community of educators, peers, and parents, JCDS students learn to approach challenges with creativity, perseverance, and confidence so that they can succeed.