I’m getting ready to begin my ninth year of teaching and second year of being a parent to an elementary student (who happens to be in my class for the second year-she says I’m nicer at school than at home).
As a teacher I get to enjoy summers with my girls, but as I teacher I can feel for students as they approach the first day of a new school year. The summer seems immense at the start, but once the 4th of July hits it feels like it’s gone in a flash. And though I love teaching, it can take a while to get into the back-t0-school-mode. Here are some tips I’ve shared and used myself to make the transition a smooth one.
PUT YOUR KIDS TO BED: No matter their age, chances are your child’s summer sleeping patterns have shifted from their school-year schedule. Children need sleep in order to feel and learn their best. Don’t wait until the night before. You can start adjusting their bed/wake times a few weeks prior to make the adjustment an easier one.
READ: Read with your child, to your child, and around your child. There have been many studies showing the benefits of reading 20 min. a day. And be an example. (When was the last time you read a book?). The car is a great place to have your child read to you or listen to a book-on-tape or start a bedtime ritual-even for your teen.
SUPPLIES: There are great sales this time of year on school supplies. Get your list and get it done. Make sure to pick up some extra paper and pencils-you’ll enjoy that sale price later in the year when your child’s supply needs replenished.
ELECTRONICS: Limit your child’s TV, computer, video game, etc. time. Make the most of their online time by guiding them towards educational shows and learning apps/sites. Some great websites are: www.starfall.com www.funbrain.com, www.makemegenius.com, and www.howstuffworks.com.
SPELLING: Chances are your child will be bringing home a spelling word list that first week. Make learning the words a bit more fun. You can have them “paint” their words with water on a sidewalk, spell words on your fridge with magnetic letters, put together word puzzles by writing the words on index cards and cutting them apart, or type their list into www.spellingcity.com and let them play games each week.
HEALTHY HABITS: Once school starts it’s easy to fill every spare moment with extra activities, but your child’s “job” is school, and it should come first. Make sure your child has healthy food choices available and gets daily exercise. When the body is healthy, the brain is open for learning.
My count-down to school is on. (My oldest daughter has been changing numbers daily.) Though sometimes it can be hard to get back into things, before I know it summer will be on it’s way once more, and I will be wondering where another year of so much learning went.