September is here! And with it comes a new school year. As with any new endeavor, getting off to a good start this school year will allow your child to get the most out of their experience. A smart, strategic kickoff to the year will help your child feel confident about the year to come.
Here are some simple tips to get this year off on the right foot, whether your child is entering elementary, middle or high school.
1. Get Organized!
Starting the school year with a good organizational system not only saves a lot of time and angst, but also will help kids feel confident and capable when they know that they have everything they need and where to find important materials.
The backpack is a critical starting point. Think of it as the vessel which carries vital information between home and school. Students of all ages should pack their own backpacks (with assistance for the younger child), and know where all the important items are located.
What is in your child’s backpack is just as important as what isn’t. Clean it out at the end of each week. Too much extra stuff will prevent good organization.
Every student needs a system to organize notes, assignments, and other important papers. A binder with pocket dividers works well for students who have homework assigned in multiple subject areas. A small collection of pocket folders is best for younger students. Clear labeling of the folders and pocket dividers will help to ensure that assignments are filed correctly and are not lost in transit.
2. Organize Your Mind!
Just as important as the organization of the student’s materials is the organization of his or her mind. Take time with your child to look carefully through the class schedule and calendar of events. Find a logical space within the binder to include these materials for easy reference, and even suggest they keep a weekly school planner to keep them on track. Make multiple copies and post them near your family calendar. Keeping an online calendar for your family and including important school events is a convenient way to keep everyone up to date.
3. Think Positively!
Beginning the school year with a growth mindset is crucial to success, both for parents and children. Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking work has clearly demonstrated that the belief that growth and improvement will happen with hard work is essential to the actual demonstration of progress. Kids and parents who subscribe to the idea that hard work and study will lead to improved skills and understandings do better that those who think that luck or natural talent will carry them through.
Conversely, kids who demonstrate a fixed mindset, deciding that they will never improve are much less likely to make progress. It’s frighteningly easy for kids to get stuck in a fixed mindset when they encounter an academic challenge, and it’s the job of parents and teachers to continuously encourage them that progress and growth will happen with hard work.
4. Build Relationships!
Starting the school year by forming a positive relationship with the teacher is another important strategy for success. Students should engage with their teachers, and ask questions about what is expected. Teachers love to hear from students about goals they have for the year and areas in which they are seeking to improve. Talk to your kids about goals and topics that they are interested in learning about so these ideas will be fresh in their mind upon meeting the new teacher(s).
Parents - don't be afraid to ask questions about the expectations and routines of the classroom or to share information about your child(ren). Teachers really appreciate learning information about students that give them perspective on a student’s past school experience. Let your child’s teacher know if anything has changed at home that may impact the child’s emotional state.
Definitely share information about your child’s previous school experience, even if it has been negative. View the teacher as your ally and initiate a collaborative relationship from the first day.
5. Utilize Available Technology!
What works best for you and your child as you prep for a great school year? Share your very own tips in a comment below or by Tweeting us using #MyloWrites.