Back to school – new year, new focus

January 25, 2013

Bits and Pieces, Parenting

 Back to school – new year, new focus

 The back to school pep talk

For many Australian families next week heralds “Back to School!” – listen carefully and you’ll possibly hear some very loud sighs of relief from holiday-frazzled parents amongst the humming buzz of social excitement as kids are longing to catch up with old mates and make new ones too.

Hopefully you and the kids are all prepared for the 2013 school year and are busting-a-gut to race through those school gates .. yes??

Fresh year, new focus … school’s in

The start of a new school year is always a great time to work with your kids on setting fresh goals and developing productive routines that support success at school because we all want our children to do their best in school, don’t we? Of course we do, but we also need to remember that school isn’t an easy place for every child and that concentrating in the classroom can be difficult for our iGeneration of youngsters.

As parents, there are a number of simple steps that we can take to maximise our kids’ engagement with school and provide them with the best opportunities to succeed. Quite often, the elimination of some distractions and the promotion of some good habits will go a long way to help foster an enjoyment of school and learning plus, hopefully, some improved academic outcomes.

  • Encourage a nutritious breakfast – even though many kids report not being hungry until later in the morning, studies have shown that children who have breakfast and enough to eat during the rest of the day will be better able to concentrate in class.
  • Introduce them to music – learning to play an instrument has shown to have a spin-off effect of increased focus and improved concentration in other areas.
  • Consider a dietary supplement – particularly if they are a fussy eater. Fish Oils have been touted as being good for learning and brain development and there are many formulations of over-the-counter supplements that can help improve concentration, support memory and overcome general tiredness. Your GP or pharmacist should always been consulted first.
  • Set and stick with a reasonable bed time on school nights. Computers should be switched off at least a half hour before bed in order for the brain to “slow down” enough for decent sleep and if the arguments start, you can say with authority that studies show most students perform best after about 9 hours of sleep.
  • Allocate a clear space for study and homework. Your kids will be better able to concentrate if there is a clear, uncluttered place for them to work. Oh, and remember to turn of the telly, as squeezing homework into commercial breaks is unlikely to lead to much focused learning.
  • Help them to get organised – have a visible calendar where they can mark in important dates such as when assignments are due, have a filing system so that resources are easy to store and then locate when needed
  •  Discourage “cramming.” It increases anxiety and interferes with clear thinking. Educators know that kids do better on tests if they spread out studying over several days or weeks and can relate the information to what they have already learnt and understand.

 

The books are covered, the uniforms are pressed and the school shoes have been polished ….  so, what back to school pep-talk do you give your kids?

Because it’s Friday, and Fridays are awesome, I’m again joining in with 2 fantabulous weekly Aussie blog link-ups!

Grace’s Flog Yo Blog Friday and Bree’s Flash Blog Friday.

These 2 gals host awesome Aussie linkups, so head over for some great blog reading!

Back to school – new year, new focus

 

photo credit: Mil via photopin cc

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14 Responses to “Back to school – new year, new focus”

  1. Mel @ Adventures of a Subversive Reader Says:

    Great tips! My son’s still a bub, so I don’t have any back to school tips for him, but one thing I used to do with my students at the end of the day was to get them to tell me three things they’ve learned that day. It opened up conversation, gave me a way to check learning and gave them a way to think about ‘what they did that day’ so they could tell their parents!

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      I love that Mel – I think it’s a great way for a teacher to end each day and it certainly reinforces learning. Love it! :)
      x

      Reply

  2. Melissa Mitchell Says:

    I have two boys and #1 is going into year 5. I can’t wrap my head around it. I want to cry and hyperventilate at the same time! He’s excited though. Nervous, he’s nervous about a new teacher and which of his friends will be in his new class. Nobody loves change, but both of mine have autism, so there’s that.

    And my BABY is starting Prep. A school boy already! So far he does NOT want to do this. I have 4 days to go. I can talk him into it by then, right? Sigh.

    Visiting from Bree’s FBF (and am heading over to FYBF so would have seen you there too.) :)

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Wow Melissa – you have a couple of big adventures coming up – I do hope that it goes very smoothly for them and for YOU! See if you can treat yourself to some special time that first day in order to take your mind off the emotion of it all. Good luck! x

      Reply

  3. Zanni, Heart Mama Says:

    My daughter is starting pre-school this year. We struggle to get her to eat breakfast…so I will have to see how this goes! At least they do morning tea there so she shouldn’t pass out. Great tips! x

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Wow, I bet she is excited! My oldest is not so hungry at breakfast time and so I understand the struggle. For ages I always gave him a kiddie multi-vitamin each morning – hopefully it helped.
      Good luck with it! x

      Reply

  4. Kirsty @ My Home Truths Says:

    Great tips Shari. We are working on a visual timetable and routine so the kids know what is expected of them and when they are expected to do it. I hope everyone has smooth transition back to school – I know I can’t wait for a few days of peace next week!!!

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Thanks Kirsty! I love all kinds of visual prompts and think that the reminder on the wall makes routine so much easier to manage – I’d love to know how it goes for you.
      Enjoy your peace, I understand why you can’t wait!!! x

      Reply

  5. Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye Says:

    All fabulously sensible advice!

    Reply

    • Shari Says:

      Oh thank you Bree – I guess being a teacher it’s a bit of a focus for me this week lol!
      Much appreciation for hosting a great link up x

      Reply

  6. Emily @ Have a laugh on me Says:

    Great tips, thankfully with a Preppie I don’t have to worry too much about homework etc. But I am definitely going to encourage a nutritious breakfast! x

    Reply

  7. Shari Says:

    Hi Emily and thanks! It’s amazing the impact that breakfast has little ones – good luck with Prep! x

    Reply

  8. Grace Says:

    Great tips, Shari! I’m not there with the back to school stuff yet but I can just see how it can great anxiety and nervousness without preparation.
    I’ll definitely keep all these things in mind…

    Reply

  9. Jodi Says:

    My little ones are not at school yet, but I too have issues with them eating breakfast before day care or on any day really! :(. At least at day care they offer breakfast if we drop them off early enough, or there is morning tea as a last resort!

    Reply

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