Tips to Make it a Great School Year

If it seems that your student isn't ready to get back into the school routine, there are several ways to help him or her ease into school mode.

"It's natural for children to be anxious or sad about the end of summer break, but you can help smooth the transition back to school by being positive and reminding your child of the fun parts about a new school year," says Eileen Huntington, co-founder of Huntington Learning Center. Huntington offers these tips to make it a great school year:

View this year as a new opportunity. If your child had any school issues or other problems last year, encourage him or her to think of this new school year as a chance to start anew. Remind your child of the best parts of the previous school year—a friendship made, a favorite extracurricular activity discovered or a goal achieved. An optimistic outlook can go a long way.

Don't wait to address problems. If academics were a problem last year, it is unlikely that the problem went away. Weak skills may still exist and should be addressed. Any change in your child's demeanor or problems arising with certain subjects, investigate immediately. By report card time your child may have fallen far behind, so arrange a time to speak to the teacher right away if you have concerns or see your child struggling with homework or suddenly displaying serious frustration and anger.

Establish open communication. Good communication and parental involvement are both key to student success. So, if you weren't as involved last year as you would have liked, make it a priority now. And remember that being involved isn't as complicated as it sounds. Talk with your child about school. Stay in touch with his or her teacher. Keep apprised of what your student is learning and do your part to make homework and studying a priority.

Get organized. This goes for you and your child. Set up a homework area. Prepare an organizational system for paperwork that comes home—both for you and for your child—and teach your child to use this system so as not to lose track of things. If your family works best on a schedule, sit down with your child to discuss a nightly routine that you can all stick to. The idea of going back to school may cause some stress for your student, but preparation and a positive attitude can help ease your child's woes. Remind your child that a new school year holds many exciting opportunities—and that together, you can overcome any challenges that arise.



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