This post was written by Jason Au, a Kumon Instructor at two Calgary Kumon Centres, working closely with his older brother, Rico Au. They are Kumon Instructors for hundreds of students in both Math and Reading at their two locations in NE and SW Calgary.
With summer now officially over, parents and kids are busy getting ready for the school year. However, the transition from relaxed vacation days to a busy fall routine can be difficult for the whole family.
As a Kumon instructor, I've seen firsthand how students can feel anxious, stressed and even overwhelmed by meeting new teachers and having a full day of class with homework re-introduced to their daily life. If children aren't well-prepared and confident for their first day of school, this may affect the entire year ahead.
Aside from letting your child know you're always there to help and support them, I recommend the following at-home techniques to help set your son or daughter up for success this school year:
1. Get a Head-Start on your Morning Routine
If a child isn't getting enough sleep, concentration and academic performance suffers. To prepare for early mornings, set a strict bedtime for your child a week before school starts. Continue your morning "practice run" by planning quick and healthy breakfast ideas together. If your child is old enough, have him or her get into the habit of making lunch.
2. Talk about the "First Day of School" Jitters
Being nervous about the first day of school is natural. From new teachers to new friends to new schedules, the anticipation can be overwhelming. Remind your child of their past achievements and what he or she has to look forward to -- from learning to starting extracurricular activities.
3. Tour the Route and School
In addition to getting used to a routine, it's also important to make sure that your child is familiar with the route to school and school environment. If possible, take a practice run and tour the school ahead of time.
4. Encourage a Study Buddy
Having a friend to visit the library or to collaborate with on homework can help your child forge positive and supportive relationships with his or her peers. Before school begins, your child may want to begin thinking about who their study buddy could be.
5. Create a Distraction-Free "Study Zone"
Has your child's study area become cluttered over the summer? Now is the time to get organized! Ensure all distractions are removed (e.g. games), and restock on necessities like paper, pencils, pens, erasers, and other study supplies. Encourage your child to use the "study zone" for activities like reading and writing in the weeks leading up to the start of school.
Back-to-school can be challenging but it doesn't need to be. These are just a few tips I give to parents to help ease back into the school year. I find the more prepared you are, the better off the school year is for the whole family. Help your child start the school year off right -- and remember -- you aren't alone!