It may be hard to fathom, but the 2023 -2024 school year is upon us and in full swing. The return to school can be exciting and thrilling for some and anxiety producing for others. Parents and caregivers are hoping for a year filled with academic success and growth, while their children’s attention may be on making new friends, talks of recent summer adventures, as well as the transition to a new grade, classroom, and environment.

Returning to school does bring some challenges: these may include the increased demand for new academic tasks, making new friends, as well as adapting to a new teacher and classroom settings.

As task demands increase, many of our children may begin to struggle, which may cause us to feel frustrated in trying to help them. Below are a few tips that may be helpful.

Establish a routine:
As early as possible establish a schedule and routine for your children. Suggestions include setting up snacks, homework, dinner, play and bedtime routines. Although they may be initially resistant, children function best when there is structure.

Sleep: Adequate sleep is important for helping children function well in school. Elementary school children require 9-10 hours of sleep and adolescents need 8-9 hours. Try to put away all electronics at least an hour before bed.

Breakfast: Evidence has shown children who eat breakfast have better cognitive, memory, attention and problem-solving skills compared to children who skip breakfast. Ideally, breakfast should include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water for a mixture of energy sources.

Parent-teacher relationship: Establish a healthy parent-teacher relationship as early as possible in the school year by contacting teachers by email, written letter, or meeting.

Homework: Structure required!!

  • Establish a specific homework time and location that is distraction-free.
    Provide each child a set of school supplies and make them easily assessable.
  • Review all assignments. Double check even If your child says he or she has none. Trust but do not be afraid to verity.
  • Set homework goals and use a timer. No one can work on assignments for hours at a time. In general, children can work on homework for the same amount of time they can attend to most non-preferred tasks. For example, if your child can listen to someone talk for 10 minutes without becoming distracted, it is likely that he or she can work on a homework assignment for at least 10 minutes without needing a break. Break each homework assignment into chunks that can be completed in that block of time, followed by timed breaks. Teach your child to respect the timer and how to manage their homework time.
  • It may be helpful to complete the hardest assignments first while energy levels are high, and information is fresh.
  • Encourage independence while being supportive during homework time.

These are just a few suggestions that may help you and your child’s school year be a success. If you encounter problems or challenges that you feel are outside of your ability to help, please do not hesitate to reach out to a trained professional.

Here are some helpful resources: | NBCDI, ,

Wishing you a safe and successful school year.

A Garner Headshot

Dr. Algean Garner
Children’s Place Association, Director of Clinical Services