10 Tips to a Happy, Successful School Year

How to Smoothly Transition from Summer to School Year

As you scan the weather report for the last beach-worthy weekends, the school schedule may feel lightyears away. How are you ever going to get your self and the kids back on schedule? Homework, projects, book reviews, parent-teacher meetings, school plays, concerts: all to somehow be squeezed into normal, everyday life.

And by the way, the assault of the first week is coming and there is nothing you can do about it. Expect it, breathe, grab your favourite beverage and just plough through it. I’m talking about that barrage of paperwork.

For the rest, making the transition back to school and having a happy, successful year can be a little easier with a bit of preparation. These 10 tips to a happy, successful school year will help with your family’s journey:

1. Prepared parent, positive school year

The first thing is to ensure that you are ready for the school year long before the school bell rings. If you are running around chasing school supplies, uniforms and trying to figure everything out at the last minute, your kids will be just as rattled as you are. Be ready for the year with a few weeks to spare.

Girl wearing pink jacket and boots playing on a swing.

2. Visit the school grounds

Even if your child has been attending the same school for a couple of years, Summer is long and they kind of lose touch with it. One way to re-introduce the idea of going back to school is by visiting the school sounds and letting your kids play in the play structures, shoot hoops or whatever. When my kids were starting a new school, I made a point of visiting the school’s playground multiple times before the start of the school year. I wanted to create happy memories without the pressure, and noise of recess.


3. They don’t need to know about it

While you may be anxious about the new school year, your child doesn’t need to know about it. Goodness knows there is a lot to be anxious about; will your child adapt, will they make friends,  will the school be able to provide the support your child needs? In addition to all that and more, there is the cloud of COVID to consider. What will the upcoming winter season and year look like?  Parents are a long way from taking for granted that the school year will run smoothly from September to June. What if….?  Of course you have many valid reasons to have concerns, but you can’t put those on your child. They can’t absorb and carry that energy with them, they have their own worries!

4. Establish routines earlier

For many families, Summer is a time for relaxing all the rules and just going with the flow. This often means that all the school year routines get thrown out the window with the increasing temperatures and the call of the beach. In preparation for the school year, it’s a good idea to go back to those home routines that support a successful school day: bedtime, morning and meals. If you start these a week or two before the start of the new year, it will be much easier for your child to transition.  Of course children love the freedom that Summer brings, but several studies have demonstrated that kids thrive on the structure of routines.  They are predictable and promote a sense of security.  In other words, even though they may push back when you enforce certain routines, remember that they secretly love it.


5. Autopilot that!

Take a look at your routine and identify all the things you and your children can automate. Are there things that your kids can get ready the night before every school day? Things like packing lunch and book bags, setting clothes or uniform aside on a specific spot and ready to wear in the morning. A meal plan for the week’s dinners will save your sanity.  Not to mention lunches and snacks. Most days there just won’t be enough energy to figure out dinner and help with homework at the same time. Setting meals on autopilot will save you a lot of grief.

6. Mind the Screen

They are the blessing of our time and can be a curse for modern parenting. Screens: big ones little ones, educational, entertaining and addictive. Avoid screen time battles by setting clear expectations about when and how much screen time your kids can have access to. Then be consistent, even if the kids push back. It will actually be worth it for all of you.

7.Extra curricular activities

When it comes to after school activities, it’s best to be mindful of the number of hours in a day you and your children have. It is, has always been and will always be 24 hours. Don’t fall into the trap of the lust for busyness. 

3 baboons all looking shocked at object they are looking at.

8. Bring your team spirit. 

Whatever happens, go into this school year with the mindset of being part of team of all the adults who will interact with your child during this school year. When things aren’t going well, expect that everyone is doing their best and are genuinely looking for solutions. Be willing to offer suggestions in a collaborative manner. Of course, always advocate for your child but in most cases, bringing your team spirit will have a better outcome for your child that bringing your weapons for battle.

 


9. Celebrate genuine effort

I honestly believe that school is not about the grades but more about learning and the effort that kids put. Grades are an easy way for the educational system to assess students but they don’t tell the whole story. Try not to get hung up on the mark on the paper. How much effort went into it?

10. Have fun

 Your child will only be this age, in this grade, once in their life. Take time to enjoy those moments that the year ahead has in store for all of you.

 


What do you find most challenging about the start of a new school year? Let us know either by email: connect@drsazini.com

or through our contact form.

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