Young girl excitedly going to school

Back to School: Setting Your Child Up for Success

The school year is fast approaching. While back-to-school retailers are rejoicing, the rest of us are grumbling and gathering our lunchboxes and school supplies. If this is your first year sending your little one off to school, or you’d just like to be more hands on about it this year, you’ve come to the right place. Here are six simple steps to set your child up for success this school year.

  1. Provide them with the supplies they’ll need.
    This one’s a no-brainer. Without pencils, pens, paper, highlighters, etc, your child won’t be able to contribute in the classroom and will most likely be punished for being unprepared. Take the kids along when you grab supplies: letting them pick out some items they like for themselves can make them more excited to use them and in turn, less anxious about the upcoming school year.

  2. Provide healthy meals.
    If you’re familiar with your school district’s meals and take no issue, you can ignore this one. Many public and private schools provide children with plenty of choices, many of which include healthy options. But, if you’d like to make sure that your child is eating right, you can send him to school with a lunchbox full of his favorite healthy meals and snacks.

  3. Ensure your children receive plenty of rest.
    They probably won’t thank you for this at the time, but it’s a good practice to set a bed-time for your children that they follow regularly. Without enough sleep, your child's academic performance and overall mood will suffer. Adults can make it by with 6 to 7.5 hours of sleep, but studies have shown that children and adolescents perform best after sleeping 9.25 hours.

  4. Make sure your child has access to technology.
    There’s no reason to buy your kindergartener an iPad, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure that children have an adequate amount of exposure to technology. Virtual classrooms (web-based learning environments students use through portal access or  with certain software) are commonly components of or replacements for traditional classrooms. And professional life pretty much requires individuals to be able to use a computer and smartphone. It will benefit your child in the long run if you can expose them to these common devices and make sure they’re comfortable using them.

  5. Just also be sure to limit that access.
    All that being said, too much technology can actually hurt their development, not help it. This means you’ll need to be involved in your children’s use of technology. Setting time limits or putting parental controls on the device can be effective. However, you can also just be present and aware of what your child is doing on this technology and for how long. No need to be overly snoopy. Just ensure they aren’t spending too much time glued to a screen or doing unsavory things online. 

  6. Don’t overburden your child.
    Extra curricular activities aren’t inherently a bad thing. But, if your child is too overburdened to actually spend time being a child - playing, relaxing, spending time with friends - it’s time to let some after-school obligations go. Without enough time to relax and reflect on the day, a child can easily get overwhelmed. There’s not a magic number of extra-curricular activities, but if your child doesn’t have time to finish homework, spend time with friends, and just be a child then you need to cut back, even if  he's only doing one extracurricular.