First Days of School: Get Set for Success
“First day of school, first day of school! Wake up, wake up, c’mon…first day of school!” That 6:00 a.m. alarm comes a bit too early for some, myself included! And then, we have our children.
Some will be ready to begin the year, wide awake on the first day and filled with excitement, while others may have to be dragged out of bed, handed an on-the-go breakfast, and wished all the best as they stumble out of the carpool line. After a summer of sleeping in, fun in the sun, and for many, finally being able to vacation again, can we blame those who are not quite ready to go back to school? Well, have no fear, help is on the way! Parents, we can do this, and our children can, too! Here are a few key things that will help you and your students survive the start of the school year.
Spend time in the Word.
This is so important for parents and students alike. Set aside time daily to read the Bible and pray. That solid foundation in the Word will help us flourish at school, home, and work. We have to set Jesus as a priority in all that we do in order to further his kingdom and share his love with those around us.
Don’t forget to eat and sleep!
Make sure your students are eating three healthy meals a day, and do not skip breakfast. They need fuel to begin the day strong and to carry them through the school day and beyond to athletic practices, dance rehearsals, and any other extracurricular activities. Students and families are busier than ever, and we all need our rest. A consistent bedtime is also vital to our children's mental and physical health. To ensure a good night's sleep, The National Sleep Foundation recommends not using electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Sleep is precious, and won't be able to focus in the classroom or play well on the field unless they are well rested.
Children need routines. They just do! Here is one routine to introduce: Designate a place in your house for keeping school backpacks. When your students finish their homework, it should go into the specific notebook, binder, or folder for that class and straight into their backpack. And at the end of every day, once all homework is done, put that backpack in its place, packed and ready to go for the morning. You do not want to be running late for carpool, tearing apart the house while looking for that science folder. Trust me, I speak from experience. It is not pretty!
In my household, I have a rising freshman who is an amazing planner, and I have a 7th grader who needs a bit more guidance in that area. Help your students organize their calendars and make a plan for each day. For a simple tool, take a notebook and have your students write down their homework and activities for each week. They can cross oﬀ tasks as they are finished and will be left with a wonderful feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. Planning is important, and taking small steps to plan out the day, week, or month will save a lot of stress and anxiety throughout the year.
We're all going to be fine. Take time for yourself each day,and remind your students to do the same. TCS students have a lot going on between homework, athletics, and extracurricular activities. We all need to take a break, take a long walk, or sit on the back porch and relax. In the crazy pace of everyday life, do not forget to have quiet moments to recharge and be thankful. Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!
Christine Gardner is an Executive Function Coach and Study Skills teacher at TCS. She is a proud Navy wife and mother of two Upper School students here at Trinity. She is a JMU grad and spends her off time at home with her family raising puppies for the service dog organization Canine Companions.