Ready to Return to School? Reduce Stress by Making a Plan

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I know… everyone is enjoying summer and does not even want to think about school right now. There is no need to cut the summer short when you have a solid plan and know when to begin. Take some time to get a plan together to eliminate the stress of returning to school. Here are a few things to include in your return-to-school plan:

Here are a few things to include in your return-to-school plan:

  1. Establish a time to begin your plan. A first consideration is when does school begin- from there you can determine when to start implementing a back-to-school plan. A good rule of thumb is to start executing a plan about 2 weeks before school begins (and continue enjoying summer until then).

  2. Return to the rhythm of a regular regimen 2 weeks before school starts:

    a. Sleep- Establish a set bedtime and stick with it. The plan can even be graduated and work towards the ideal bedtime. For example, bedtime may be 10pm and then the next week goes to 9pm. 

    b. Wake up!- Consider starting the day at the time you will need when school begins. This gets everyone in the habit of waking at the same time and eliminates the struggles that come with those early back-to-school blues.

    c. Food - Summer is all about going, doing and having fun and with that comes erratic eating habits and schedules. Try setting a solid routine for breakfast with a balanced nutritious meal.

  3. Involve the children- What do they want to do to get ready for school? What is their favorite breakfast? Getting school supplies and backpacks are ways to get the children excited about returning to school.

  4. Consider what kind of support may be needed as the children return to school- after school transportation, daycare, extra-curricular activities, etc. Working through this ahead of time will ensure the family is prepared.

Don’t procrastinate. Waiting and delaying will only create more stress later. Any routines that are started will be helpful in the return to school. Taking time to create a solid plan before return to school begins will eliminate a lot of the stress of transitioning from the fun summer.




Summer is Coming - Get Ready for the Slide

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As the school year comes to an end, students get excited about relaxing, having fun and enjoying the warmer weather. As they hit the playground and run for the slide, their memory and learnings from the school year begin to slide. So how do we prevent “slide” over the summer?

“In their overview of the summer slide, Quinn and Polikoff offer a few key facts:

  • Learning and achievement are perishable. The average student loses a month of academic-calendar learning each summer.

  • The impact of the summer slide contributes to a more pronounced achievement gap.

  • Research has found a link between socioeconomic status and the loss of reading skills experienced over the summer.

  • Studies show older students lose more over the summer than younger ones.

  • Students see greater academic dips in math than in reading.”1

Here are some things that can be done to slow the knowledge “slide”:

Head to the library. Read, read, read… select a book that interests the child. Reading improves English capabilities and increases word knowledge. Reading can be interactive by having discussions with the family – providing summaries or reading together for the younger ones. As writing is being more emphasized in school, a short book summary could be written to keep up the practice.

Keep the communication going. In addition to reading with the child or reviewing books together, communicate with your children. Ask about their day, incorporate items that are being studied – colors, letters, numbers, animals, history, civics, etc. Connect with an instructor or educational coach to provide support.

Complete work over summer. There are many options to get assigned work over summer break. Schools or libraries may supply summer projects. Also many after-school supplemental educational programs offer assignments for summer.

Do work at home. While there are many options to do homework over the summer, utilizing online versions of programs can be very supportive. The more interactive, the more likely children will spend some of their summer break doing online studies at home.

Implementing a strategy can prevent the “slide” of your child’s knowledge over summer. Contact your local Eye Level Center to discuss how their summer programs can help.

 


  1. Ariel Goldberg, 2018,  What Summer Slide Actually Means-and 5 Ways to Fight it

More Social Interaction Needed

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In the age of mobile devices and social media, it seems like we are more connected than ever. However, studies have shown that the technology evolutions has caused more seclusion and people withdrawing from real social interaction. In combination with a more diverse population with different backgrounds and cultures this provides good reason to develop strong social skills in children.

·         Self-awareness: Understanding one’s own emotions, goals, values, limitations, strengths, and how they are all interconnected.

·         Self-management: The ability to regulate emotions and behaviors to manage stress and impulses.

·         Social awareness: Empathy and compassion for those who are different, while recognizing social norms in various situations.

·         Relationship skills: The ability to maintain healthy and rewarding relationships by communicating clearly, actively listening, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, resolving conflict and asking for help.

·   Responsible decision making: Learning to make choices by considering ethics, safety, risk, consequences and other people.

It takes role models, mentors, classroom efforts and parent involvement to develop these skills to increase social and emotional behaviors. Parents can lead the effort through community leadership and speaking with schools about incorporating SEL. Schools can be a support but it also takes community – after-school programs, mentorships and getting involved in activities with other children that promote positive social interaction.

1 Edutopia, 2019, Why social and Emotional Learning is Essential for Students