by Wendy Poling
The start of a new school year signals earlier bedtimes, more structured routines and for many military families getting to know a brand new school.
Here are 5 simple strategies to help you prepare for a successful, stress-free school year:
1. Attend the Open House: At the Open House you’ll meet teachers, receive guidelines/expectations, have the opportunity to ask questions, receive details on any additional supplies needed for each class and so much more. Generally you’ll want to know the mission statement of the school and goals the teacher will have for her or his classes to ensure the success of your student.
2. Have a map: If in a new school, one of the biggest challenges your student will likely experience is the confusion of navigating new hallways. The ability to find their classrooms, the lunchroom, library, nurse and for older students, their locker, the gym, admin offices, guidance office, athletics area and even the bathrooms can get overwhelming and stressful. In order for them to know the pathways to these areas, make sure they have a map.
3. Establish a Homework Station: The first month of school keep an extra close eye tracking homework and school assignments. This will help establish good study habits and a routine for staying on top of assignments. Krista Wells, Ph.D, The Military Spouse Coach ™ states, “I think it is really important to make a little homework station for your kids so you have a neat and tidy place in the kitchen or wherever to do homework. I think that this helps you as a parent to keep a back eye on what is going on so that you are in the loop of how your kids are doing in school. You can tell if there are any places where they might be struggling.”
4. Join student activities: Encourage your student to get involved in athletics or clubs, even if they initially resist. This gives your student a wider view of the school environment. Participating in a team sport or club will allow them to interact with kids their age, develop new skills and build relationships, keeping them from isolating.
5. Capture the moment: Be prepared to snap a few memorable photos and create a short video to document these milestone moments to cherish in the years to come. Share the images and videos with extended family and most importantly with mom or dad if they are deployed or far from home. Keep the videos short, 30-60 seconds, for easier downloading.
What are your tips for a successful start to a new school year?
About the Author:
Wendy Poling is a military lifestyle speaker and creator of the popular podcast Military Life Radio. She is a certified Armed Forces Team Building Instructor at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas and USAA’s Deployment Community Manager for their digital Spouse Community. Wendy is married to a retired Navy submariner, who has deployed to Afghanistan, and is a proud soccer mom.