Guest Blogger, A.S. Braverman an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group
It’s mid-August, which means that fall is just around the corner. There are lots of things to look forward to—the crunch of dry leaves, the comfort of your favorite sweater, pumpkin pie and apple cider, and, of course, the start of the new school year! As exciting as it is for kids and parents alike, this yearly transition can also be a big source of stress. It’s easy to let little things fall through the cracks in the hubbub of September. Your kids might be getting more homework as they get older, and lots of students participate in so many extracurricular activities that they’re hard to keep straight! Here are five ways to make your back-to-school experience as smooth as possible.
Make sure your child’s study space is free of the clutter that can distract from schoolwork. You can also set up a system of organization that he or she can use right from the beginning of the semester. Some students find that a color-coded binder helps them keep all their assignments in order. Others might benefit from keeping a weekly planner in a notebook or online. A family calendar in a prominent location—such as the living room or kitchen—is another good way to encourage time management. Additionally, the act of crossing off finished tasks can help give kids a feeling of accomplishment and autonomy.
Make a Schedule
Outline a daily “plan of attack” for school projects, social events, activities, and chores. Make sure your child records his/her assignments in the same place every week—such as in the notebook or online planner mentioned above. Next, we suggest “chunking” assignments into smaller, manageable steps, and then ordering those steps according to the project due date and the length of time your child will need to complete each step. You can use this plan to tackle daily homework and study time, as well as longer projects, such as papers or science projects. Ultimately, these steps will help your child learn the time management skills necessary to complete any long-term task.
Identify Your Child’s Learning Style
One of the most important things you can do to ensure a great school year is to understand how your child learns best. This information will help you tailor study and organization strategies to your child’s strengths and challenges. Some children absorb information by listening; we call these kids auditory learners. Other students—visual learners—do best when information is convey visually, through charts or illustrations. Finally, kinesthetic learners apprehend concepts through touch, by physically working through ideas and problems. Often, students exhibit a variety of these traits, so it’s essential that you get to know your child’s particular needs.
Remember To Take Breaks
The beginning of the year can feel overwhelming for everyone, parents and kids alike! As the days get shorter they also seem to get fuller. Don’t forget to build breaks into your child’s routine. Even a two-minute stretch, walk around the house, or quick snack can work wonders for a busy brain, especially when transitioning from working on one subject to working on another. We all need to take moments to reset our minds. Kids learn best when they’re running on all cylinders.
Author Bio: A.S. Braverman is an Academic Liaison at Thinking Caps Group and a recent graduate of Columbia University. Thinking Caps has published many books, including SAT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2012) and ACT Demystified (McGraw-Hill, 2013). The company has been featured in The New York Times, Parenting, and The Huffington Post.