Back to school: Get organized, get involved
Time to cut back on the late night barbecues, bonfires and sleep overs with the neighborhood kids, and time to get back to a scheduled lifestyle.
Kids across Western New York will be heading back to school next week with their backpacks filled with new schools supplies, boxes of tissue and their brand new art smocks. Although some students may not feel ready for the summer to end, I am sure many parents look forward to this time of year.
My advice for getting things back on track and retraining the kids to buckle down and stay focused, is to stay consistent.
Too often, I have seen parents letting children continue with their summer habits and stay up past bed time or do their homework after playtime.
ē Stick to a schedule
Each year gets harder and harder for students to stay on task and focus on their studies. Although parents cannot actually do the school work for the parents, they can provide the tools necessary to encourage or make it easier for students to do so. Make a schedule - a big one that can be posted on the kitchen wall - an follow it. If you stick to your schedule, your children will be prompted to follow suit.
ē Eliminate background noise
Set aside a specific time for homework. Preferably right after school, so the information is still fresh. After doing so, turn off the television, the radio and the internet (unless itís needed to assist with school work), and leave the room so your child knows itís time to study. In addition, try to be available for assistance. While your child studies, itís often helpful if they know you are nearby to lend a hand. But, donít be too eager to help - they might find that to be intrusive and become uninterested in the topic.
ē Set aside discussion time
If possible, try to prepare dinner (or order out) while your child is doing their homework. That way, after their homework is finished, it can be discussed at the dinner table. This not only sparks a further interest in the curriculum they are learning, it keeps parents involved and allows for a little extra family time in between mom and dads busy work schedules.
ē Follow up
After your child completes their homework or studying, set a reminder for yourself to see how they did in class. Ask them how they think they did while they wait for their score and then ask them to show you when their grade is returned to them. That way, if a congratulations is in order, you are providing positive feedback and encouraging your student to continue doing what their doing; or you know you may need to provide them with further assistance on that topic. Either way, you are involved and on track with what your student is learning.
When parents make an effort to be consistent, it teaches children to follow in those footsteps.
School activities, sporting events, musicals and work often get in the way of being able to follow a schedule. This also leads to less time to see one another doing a busy workload, but if the time is blocked out each day for homework and dinner (no matter where you are eating the dinner), the results are more often than not, effective for students.
Reminder for motorists: School buses will be in route in the upcoming days. Please watch for students standing at bus stops and walkers who may need to cross the road. With budget cuts in place, there may not be as many crossing guards on hand to direct traffic, so please take responsibility into your own hands and pay closer attention to the roads.
Good luck to the students heading back to school. Have a great first day of school.