Five tips for a successful return to school
1. Maintain structure and routine
Most parents can agree that children thrive with a good routine. It allows them to understand the difference between enjoyable tasks, such as play, and more mundane and functional tasks, like homework. Having this clear cut distinction promotes levels of focus as well ensuring that children feel safe and secure in their environment.
You can also suggest exciting extracurricular activities for your child, before, or after the school day. Popular examples include learning a musical instrument, joining a sports team, or joining a Unit Guiding club such as Brownies or Scouts. These activities will help your child develop many useful life skills, be well rounded, and promote healthy habits.
For children of all ages, and right through their teens, socialising should be a key part of the week. It provides a time for them to switch off from the demands and rigid rules of school and just focus on having fun and developing life-long friendships. Finding a well-structured and balanced week, where there is time for homework, extracurricular activities and social events, will be beneficial for your child.
2. Promote good organisation skills
We all know that lovely feeling of being on top of our workload, and how anxiety and stress builds up when we fail to do so. Children are exactly the same with their school work, so it is important that parents support them as much as possible with their organisational skills.
Having a physical copy of a timetable that is easily visible to you and your child can help with organising resources, attending activities, and completing homework tasks on time. This timetable could be the one provided by the school, or even one personally created by you and your child that includes all school commitments, extracurricular activities, free time and homework time. Encouraging your child to take ownership over their week, by involving them as much as possible typically makes a successful schedule. For younger students, this could mean them decorating their timetable, and for teens, sitting down and discussing how they would like their week to look and agreeing on a good routine.
Don’t forget to check your child’s homework diary each week. If it looks empty don’t be afraid to ask their teacher what they should expect to find inside and how they can best support their child to fully utilise it. High standards of organisation should be expected at the start of the year, setting them up to continue throughout.
3. Extend learning beyond the classroom
The opportunities for children to learn are endless and are certainly not limited to what happens in the classroom. Learning can happen anywhere; during breakfast, on the school run, or after school. Take time to engage with your child about their learning, answer their questions, and encourage open discussion.
A great deal of new learning or indeed consolidation of old learning can happen outside the classroom. For example, on trips to museums, galleries and historical sites with family and friends. This will strike a balance between supporting your child’s development but also offering enjoyable down time at the weekend.
4. Maintain a good sleep routine
Studies have shown that children who regularly get enough sleep have improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, and overall mental and physical health. This will of course lead to better performance in school.
The general rule for children between the ages of 3 and 16 is to have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 13 hours of sleep per night. Sleep is even more effective when you go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday.
Sleep can be disturbed by many different factors, however, the one factor that can be easily controlled in minimising the blue light given out from screens. Letting your child take their smartphone or laptop to bed with them will have detrimental effects on their quality of sleep so we suggest agreeing to some family-wide rules when it comes to screen time, for the start of this academic year.
5. Seek help if you need it
The journey through school can be challenging, with each stage of education presenting a new set of hurdles to overcome. Growing up is a challenge in itself; children have to navigate academic pressures, as well as manage hormonal, mental and social demands. On top of all this, children have had to deal with the constraints presented by the global pandemic, and in many cases these have had detrimental effects on their mental health. Seeking help from a teacher, private tutor, or therapist, depending on what is required, can help support your child through their difficult time.
Wherever your child falls in the academic attainment level of the class they will have areas for development. It is about identifying these areas early, leaving time to improve them well before examinations. It may be as simple as improving their focus in class, their general organisation, or perhaps working on their reading. Or they may need more subject specific help, study skills or guidance with homework, and would benefit from regular one-to-one tuition.
The tutors we work with at Simply Learning Tuition deliver more than just a lesson plan. They are role models and mentors, there to support your children academically but also encourage them to grow in confidence and tackle the many different challenges they will face through their education.
If you, and your child, would like any help and guidance at any point during your child’s education then please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our education consultants.