5 Tips to Set Your Family Up for a Successful School Year

The beginning of a new school year is always one of my favorite times. While it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, each September is a fresh start—like reading the first page of what you know is going to be a really good book. And while I’m by no means wishing these final dog days away (I’m counting on at least a few more beach trips!), now is the time to start thinking about and preparing for the upcoming school year. By taking a few, simple steps, you can ease your family back into a routine that will help set your child up for success. 

Tip #1 – Location, location, location! 

As you reflect back on the past school year, consider where your child completed most of their homework (or school day), and begin to arrange it as a designated work space. Ideally, the homework center should be removed from distractions, and if possible, not located in your child’s bedroom. The dining room table works just fine!

Tip #2 – Stock up. 

Outfit the homework center with the supplies your child is likely to need, such as pencils and pens, colored markers, rulers, scissors, a dictionary and thesaurus, graph and lined paper, construction paper, glue, tape, and a calculator. 

If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), then your child can keep their supplies in a portable crate or bin. 

Tip #3 – Plan ahead. 

It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the start of a school year, especially for older children who are getting to know several different teachers and class schedules. I encourage all the families I work with to keep track of long-term projects and assignments on a monthly calendar that is centrally located in the homework center. This helps to set expectations and keep the lines of communication open so there are no frantic, “I-have-a-project-due-tomorrow-that-I-haven’t-started” moments throughout the school year. Include extracurricular and weekend activities as well to provide a full picture of your family’s time and commitments. 

Tip #4 – Don’t sweat the small stuff, but do write it down. 

Additionally, buy or make an academic planner/calendar with large daily blocks in which your child can write their class schedule and assignments. If they aren’t already, encourage your child to get in the habit of writing assignments in their planner while they are still in class—even if homework is posted elsewhere, such as on an online syllabus. 

Tip #5 – Get in a groove. 

While most of our routines go out the window over the summer, your child should get used to doing homework around the same time every day. In these final weeks leading up to the start of the school year, consider encouraging your child to read during this time or complete any summer work they may have left—that way, when September rolls around, they will already be in the habit. 

The actual time may vary depending on the individual child. While some children need a break right after school to get some exercise and have a snack, others need to start homework while they are still in “school mode.” Discuss this with your child, so they begin to take ownership of their personal learning style and needs. 

As the calendar turns to August and we look ahead to the start of yet another school year, there are some simple steps your family can take to get ready. By easing back into a routine and ensuring your child is equipped with what they need, you can all transition into the fall with ease. I am also available for both in-person and virtual consultations and tailor all programs around the individual, and would love to partner with you and your family. 

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful 2021-2022 school year! 

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