It’s that time of year again. Buying notebooks, binders and pens, packing lunches, organising pick-ups and drop-offs and everything else that goes along with making sure your child is ready for the school year to begin. Before things get too chaotic or busy, we’ve decided to write out our top questions for you to discuss with your child to make sure the whole family is ready and excited about the new academic year.
What are you most excited about this year?
What are you most nervous about at school?
What’s the best way for us (your parents) to support you?
What would you like the family to do this year for fun?
These questions are a few ideas to get you and your family started. Once the year really goes into full swing, it’s easy for everyone to get distracted and have more trouble communicating. We’d highly recommend setting up a weekly “family meeting” to discuss the positive and negative things that have happened to everyone in the family that week.
These discussions may feel weird at the beginning, but can prove to be very effective for the entire family’s well-being. It’s a great way to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, to encourage your children to formulate what’s bothering or helping them, and to facilitate family understanding and bonding.
An example of how to proceed could be to start off with everyone going around the table and saying what they appreciate about each member of the family. Then once everyone has gone around, the next important step would to address some of the challenges or disagreements that have surfaced during the week. Either between family members or at school and work. And finally, the last part can be to come up with one fun family activity to do that weekend. For example, go get an ice cream, head to the movies, explore a new area etc. This is a basic layout, but if you’re looking for more ideas, check out 10 Tips for Holding a Family Meeting by Psychology Today. Also, Creating a Positive Family Culture: How to Plan and Lead a Weekly Family Meeting is another good point of reference to consider.
The point of these weekly discussions is to help everyone feel comfortable opening up and discussing their feelings, wishes and concerns. The parents may have to take the lead, especially in the beginning. But even if your children complain, it’s still beneficial and worthwhile in the end. These meetings can be relatively short. About 30 minutes should be sufficient. However, it’s also perfectly normal for them to last an hour or so.
The technical details don’t really matter, as long as it’s seen as a family priority, and planned regularly, the benefits will surely come. The benefits include building family solidarity, reducing stress, solving problems, teaching your child how to voice his or her opinion, analyse and understand family dynamics and reinforcing family values and life skills, to name just a few.
To make the back to school transition easier for you, we’ve asked our expert academic tutors — who work with primary and secondary school students alike — what their top tips are to be prepared for back to school.
1. (Re-) establish your routine
Children don’t order their lives by hours and minutes but rather by the events that happen. When events happen in the same order everyday, they have a better sense and understanding of their world, which makes them feel more secure and allows them to organise their lives. So, whilst late nights and long sleep-ins are what holidays are all about, you should try and slowly (re-) establish a routine as the holidays come to an end to make sure you have as smooth a start as possible when it’s time to go back to school.
2. Make a practice run
Or, at least, plan your child’s route to school. If your child needs a bus pass, make sure you get it in plenty of time and emphasise they must keep it safe. If they’re traveling alone, check they have some emergency money and a phone card (or phone if they’re old enough), so they can reach you if they forget their pass or need to phone for help. It helps to do a practice run by car, bike or foot with your child, so you know how much time to plan for the journey and you’re not surprised on the first day!
3. Encourage independence
It can be difficult to let go but encouraging independence is important. This way, your child will be well equipped to handle situations that don’t go to plan and learn to take on responsibility. Little things you can do are to encourage them to dress themselves or brush their teeth and, when they’re older, letting them walk or ride a bike to school.
It can sometimes be tricky to get more out of your child than monosyllabic answers when you ask them how their day was. Try and encourage them to talk to you, in particular about their worries and fears. Listen to them carefully, acknowledge (not dismiss) their fears and give them positive advice. Also let them know that they’re not alone and everyone feels nervous when starting something new.
5. Get support
Being a parent can be tough at times and at Über Tutors we completely understand. This is why we believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a little extra help when it comes to supporting your children at school and making sure they live up to their full potential. This is where we come in. Our complete one stop education help service — the only one of its kind — offers bespoke and organised tutoring, advising and consultation to students of all ages, subjects and needs. So, whether it’s about catching up or getting ahead, GCSE or A-level exams or those tricky Common Entrance Exams, count on us to make sure your child gains the necessary skills and confidence to succeed.
Contact us now at 02030867311 or firstname.lastname@example.org to book one of our Über Tutors.