Expert Tips for a Better Start to the School Year

Thriving students have healthy habits, consistent routines and good communication


Published:

Stock photo

Q: School seems to be more and more stressful, especially when children are starting a new year. What are some guidelines for back-to-school success for children and their parents?

 

A: Kicking off a school year brings excitement, anxiety and fear as your child transitions into a new grade, but there are simple steps you can take to ensure success. Doing well or failing in school starts at home. Studies link poor academic performance to factors such as lack of sleep, poor nutrition, obesity and poor parental support. Thriving students have healthy habits, consistent routines and good communication. Understand that your child cannot perform to his or her best ability if he or she does not feel good or prepared to start a new school year. Here are a few tips to set your student up for success:

 

  1. Make an appointment for a wellness checkup.  Is your child up-to-date on immunizations and exams? If he or she plans to play a sport during the school year, don’t forget the physical exam.
  2. Nudge your child into a sleep routine. Bump up bed time and wakeup time a few minutes each day to ensure your child will be rested and energized for the first day. Sleep is the secret weapon to school success.
  3. Encourage your child to stay in shape. Suggest a new activity such as playing soccer or joining the running club. Being active every day can lower obesity, decrease stress and help your child make friends.
  4. Show your excitement. Don’t wait until the last minute to fill out paperwork. Make buying school supplies a special activity to prepare and excite your child, not a last-minute chore that you obviously dislike.
  5. Organize your child’s binders, notebooks and designated homework spots. This small gesture allows kids to develop a routine, keeps them from losing supplies and provides consistency.
  6. Talk often with your child about how he or she feels. Give your child the chance to talk about anxieties, successes and disappointments each day. Create opportunities to discuss what’s going on in the classroom and with teachers and peers.
  7. Meet with your child’s teachers and stay in regular contact. Use phone or email communications to understand and address concerns and behaviors. This lets your child know you are interested — and watching.

When you are optimistic and excited about school, your child will be too. Expecting him or her to succeed is perhaps the most important way you can show support when beginning a new year. This does not mean demanding that your child get straight A’s, be the top varsity athlete or become the best tuba player. Just let your child know you expect his or her very best. This can help teach kids to be proud of what they can accomplish.

If expectations and routines are clear from the beginning, children have a greater chance of success in the classroom. That means optimal learning, mental stability, resilience and a terrific start to the school year.

Hannah Coble is a licensed clinical social worker at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital with a background in behavioral health and outpatient therapy. Submit your questions to “Is My Kid OK?” by emailing sherri.mcmillen@conehealth.com.

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Content

Kid-Friendly Music Festivals in the Carolinas

Regional music festivals offer fun for the whole family.

Join North Carolina State Parks' 100-Mile Challenge

Program highlights state's waterways and nearly 1,500 miles of hiking trails across the state.

The Best 9 Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipes Ever

Take the chill out of the air with a cup of homemade hot chocolate. Here are nine recipes to die for.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Newsletter Sign-Up

Stay connected to what's going on for kids and families in the Triad by signing up for our FREE e-newsletters!

Subscribe

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Annual Guides

Education Guide

The all-new 2015-2016 Education Guide is packed with everything parents need to know to navigate more than 500 education options and resources in the Triad, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

GPS [Go. Play. See]

It's your complete family guide to Triad living. Parents are busy and on the go. Use this guide to help you explore all this great area offers for families in Winston-Salem, Greensboro, High Point and surrounding communities.

Exceptional Child

For parents of kids with special needs, finding help and support can be challenging. We've compiled valuable resources for Triad parents in our latest annual publication, Exceptional Child, which is also available as a digital guide.