For many families, the school year often presents unexpected challenges that can cause a great deal of stress. Here’s Tutor Doctor’s guide to help parents – and students – survive the new school year!
1. Learn from past difficulties. Try revisiting some of the more stressful moments from the last school year, as these situations provide valuable insight into “what went wrong.” Then, talk to your child about strategies that could have made the situation better. Families and students are often surprised to see how implementing minor changes to their routine can help circumnavigate many easily avoidable stressors. Making a list of the most challenging moments will also help your student to pinpoint the areas they need to focus on primarily. Try to see if a common “theme” can be identified in these stressful situations – were they related to organization? Procrastination? Not waking up on time? This is a good first step for most families, as it’s crucial to identify the “problem areas” prior to discussing strategies for improvement.
2. Learn from past successes. On the flip side, it’s also a good idea to revisit the good times! Encourage your child to think about what went well. Was there anything that made the school year easier? As a great example, one particular student commented about an experimental homework strategy they tried out last year during the winter holiday break. Rather than waiting until the third week of vacation to start the homework packet their teacher had assigned, this student decided to make it his goal to complete the entire assignment during the first week of his break. In addition, the student also noted that once he completed the assignment, he made sure to “zip up” his backpack and left it hanging by the front door – where it sat for two more weeks. The student commented that it was one of his best holiday vacations yet, and he enjoyed being able to devote the entire remainder to fun and relaxation. The student also mentioned that it was very convenient not having to worry about getting prepared, as his backpack had been “ready to go” since the end of week one. This student’s experience is a wonderful example of how positive moments can be recalled (and repeated) to help solidify future strategies!
3. Address large changes. With every school year, families can expect to deal with a fair amount of changes to their “standard” routine. However, there are certain transitional periods that can undoubtedly be more stressful than others – specifically, moving from elementary to middle school, and the final jump from middle to high school. These events can be massive shifts for many children, both in terms of their academic workload as well as their responsibilities as students. Check out our blog on this topic for more resources to help support your child during these transitional periods. In addition, parents might want to look into protocol or safety changes that may be going into effect when the next school year begins. We recommend reaching out to your child’s school to obtain additional information about important dates, new policies, and campus updates.