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10 Ways Parents can help start the school year off on a positive note!


Summer is coming to a close and memories of bike rides, ice cream cones, vacations, camp, and swimming pools are becoming a distant memory. A new school year is among us and many families are faced with the daunting task of transitioning children from summertime fun to the rigors and struggles of going back to school. Children often have a hard time adjusting to the first few days of school, longing for the freedom that summer provides and feeling nervous about starting a new grade or new school. 

Here are some tips to help ease this transition and make it a successful one!

  • 1. Encourage Reading

    Reading is the foundation of all learning, and will assist development in every subject. Model reading and help develop good reading habits. If your child sees that you value reading, then they are more likely to read themselves. Be sure to discuss what your child is reading, and ask questions to develop comprehension skills. Find books or topics that your child is interested in, and read a little bit everyday. Constantly provide new and exciting books and make sure to utilize your local library! Weekly trips to the library can be an exciting time and a great alternative to technology!

    The bottom line is…read, read, read! And don’t forget the value of reading aloud to your children! 

  • 2. Talk With Your Children

    Speaking and listening plays an important role in school success. Hearing parents talk and responding to talk helps build crucial language skills children need to do well.

    Try this simple technique. Make dinner time a TV free, computer & tablet, cell phone, and technology free time. Life is getting busier and busier all the time, but take this time to sit down at the dinner table and talk about your day. Set the ground rule that everyone must contribute one interesting aspect of his or her day. Talk to each other and listen to each other. The outcome of this simple activity can have astounding results on a child’s speaking and listening skills. 

  • 3. Daily Math Practice

    Make math fun. Cooking, gardening, paying bills, shopping, etc. are all good ways to practice math. Ask your children simple questions to develop money sense. For example, next time you are at the store ask your children how much change you will get if you purchase your items with a $20 bill. Better yet, give them the money and ask them to pay the bill. Ask them to count the change to ensure that it is correct.

    Teach children about the value of math and try to point out all of the ways it is used in the world. One big aspect of the Common Core is to make math practical. Also, don’t forget about basic facts practice. Times tables practice is especially important for children!

  • 4. Monitor TV & Computer Use

    Technology can be a very valuable resource for learning. However, too much can be a detriment. Encourage your children to read, play outside, play a game, etc. and they will learn valuable language skills and social skills. Most importantly, set boundaries and always monitor your child’s technology usage to ensure safe, high quality content that will foster learning, rather than hinder it.

  • 5. Encourage Independence

    Whenever possible, let your child figure things out for themselves. Let them know that making mistakes is ok! Mistakes are how we learn.

    Have them think problems through carefully before asking for/receiving help. The ability to become independent learners is a skill that will serve your children well for their entire lives.

  • 6. High Expectations

    Always set high expectations for your children, and never falter from them. Parental expectations play a very important role in the academic success of your child. Expect your child to do well and your expectations will be met!

  • 7. Learning Environment

    Homework and schoolwork can be a stressful and challenging time in any family. Provide your child with a suitable learning environment to complete schoolwork. This includes school supplies (pens, pencils, paper, ruler, calculator, etc.) and most importantly, a quiet place to work, which is free from distractions.

  • 8. Consistency & Routine

    Children thrive when they know what to expect. Try setting a schedule or time aside everyday (it is often best if it is the same time) to practice schoolwork. Keep it brief. 15 to 20 minutes works best. Perhaps try 15 minutes of math practice before dinner and 15 minutes silent reading before bed. This can be an especially important strategy when fighting the homework battle.

    Try to develop routines for completing homework and stick to them. When possible, set the expectation that homework must be completed before the night before it is due.

  • 9. Praise & Compliment

    Constantly look for ways that you can tell your child how well they are doing, how impressed you are with their work, etc. This will build their self-esteem, make them feel great about themselves, and translate into an even better effort into their schoolwork. The only caveat, make sure the work is truly good quality. You want your children to take pride in completing their work to the best of their ability and have a sense of pride in a job well done.

  • 10. Have Patience & Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

    At times learning can be confusing, frustrating, and complicated. All children learn differently, at different rates, and in different ways.

    Having a positive, patient attitude will go further to support your child’s learning, than getting frustrated yourself. If necessary, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are thousands of other parents in exactly the same position as you! Common questions include: How can I help? What do I do? How will I know if I am helping in the right way? How much is enough?

    Your child’s school or teacher can be a tremendous help for parents looking to supplement their child’s learning at home. They will often give advice on activities to practice at home to support classroom work, and answer any questions that you have. Other valuable sources may be hiring a private tutor, asking at the local library, and keeping up-to-date on local educational activities taking place in the community.

    Just remember…you are not alone.

The beginning of a new school year can be stressful for parents and children alike. Consistency and developing routines are paramount in making the transition as painless and as smooth as possible.

By following the simple strategies above, you can ensure that you have set your children up for success and reinforce healthy habits and a positive attitude to school.

Nourishing Minds Tutoring has been the leader in private tutoring in the Capital Region for over 9 years.

We offer qualified, reliable, and knowledgeable tutors who are expert teachers. We take the time to develop a rapport with each student to enable them to reach their fullest academic potential. Simply put, we believe that it is our job to make learning happen.