(BPT) - If you take two weeks off from the gym, you’ll have some aches and pains when you return. The same goes for children returning to school after summer vacation. Not only does this break cause students to lose some of the progress they made during the previous school year — known as the "summer slide" — but it’s easy for them to forget the routine of being in a classroom. In fact, teachers spend much of the beginning of the school year on establishing and practicing classroom routines to set the stage for learning.
Parents can help their child start school strong by reintroducing routines before the year begins. If you ready your children for the school year, they can optimize time spent with teachers and hit the ground running.
Here are some tips parents can use to help set their children up for a successful school year:
Meet with the Teacher
Parents and teachers share the same goal: a child’s success. Being an ally with a teacher from the start helps make a positive impact on a child’s education. As a parent, you should start a dialogue with your child’s teacher early on. Ask him or her questions about supporting learning outside of the classroom and resources to use at home to help with your child’s progress. Also, determine how often you should be communicating about your child’s development.
Learning Outside the Classroom
Avoid gaps in your child’s academic knowledge by continuing the learning at home. Visit your app store for digital resources that help build a strong academic foundation and make it easy to learn, no matter where your family’s busy school year schedule takes you.
- ABCmouse.com Early Learning Academy, for children 2-8, is trusted by parents and used by teachers in over 70,000 classrooms each year. With just 45 minutes a week, children using ABCmouse at home have made significant gains in early literacy and math skills through fun learning activities — puzzles, games, traceables and more — that cover subjects including reading, math, science, social studies, art and music.
- Adventure Academy is an educational multiplayer online game that elementary and middle school students will be excited to play after school! Learners will build knowledge that is essential for academic success, from fractions to essay structure, the scientific method, and other topics in language arts, math, science and social studies. The more children explore the virtual world, the more they learn by engaging with interactive quests, games, videos and other fun educational activities.
- ReadingIQ is a digital library and literacy platform that helps children grow their reading skills by offering thousands of books curated by experts. With ReadingIQ’s new Reading Level Assessments, your child will be reading books that are just right for them. These short quizzes measure a child’s reading level and automatically recommend books best for developing his or her reading abilities.
Keep a Routine
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Ever read the same bedtime story three times in a row? Younger kids thrive on routines because there is comfort in knowing what happens next. Routines teach children what they are responsible for, give them ownership over their time and habits, and let them rise to the occasion to accomplish a task.
Teachers set up their classroom and curriculum with routine in mind, and parents can do the same at home. Create a routine with your child to keep responsibilities and expectations consistent throughout the school year. For example, have him or her lay out clothes for the morning, wake up early for breakfast, and keep the same bedtime schedule.
Discuss the School Day
Talking with kids helps build oral language skills, and having them share about their day at school is a great way to do that! But instead of asking “How was your day at school?” which can lead to one-word answers, ask questions like “What was one thing you learned today?” Not only does it narrow the focus down, but it requires a clear answer that uses the child’s words, knowledge and opinions to craft a meaningful response.
Find the Hook
If you think your child is a reluctant learner, that probably isn’t the case! Kids love to learn and sometimes it’s all about finding the thing that appeals to their specific interests.
Reading and math can be challenging, but there are very few topics that don’t connect to those subjects. If your child enjoys baseball stats, look at those numbers together and talk about how batting average is a percentage. Let children pick out what they want to read at the library themselves. If chapter books are a struggle, see if graphic novels or magazines spark their interest!
A successful school year means keeping the momentum going and prepping kids for when school begins. By keeping learning and routines present throughout, your child will start strong and stay strong this school year.