3 Big Things Families Can Do to Prepare for the School Year

Part of our Counselor’s Corner series. Click to read other posts in the Counselor’s Corner.

3 Big Things Families Can Do to Prepare for the School YearUnless you have been on a remote island all summer, you’ve likely been bombarded recently with back-to-school advertisements and school supplies in stores. Besides purchasing some new clothes and the necessary supplies, there are a few ways you can prepare over the summer, as a family, for the start of a new school year. Here are three big ones:

1. Seek Out Educational Opportunities
You may have heard about “brain drain” or the summer slump, which is the loss of information that occurs over the summer. Not being engaged at all intellectually can set back students academically. Plan opportunities for your children to have fun while still learning. Many colleges and universities sponsor summer camps in different academic areas. You can also check out local recreation centers or your local YMCA to see if any programs offered relate to your child’s hobbies or interests.

On your family vacation or staycation, seek out educational stops. Many areas have aquariums, zoos, science centers, museums, or other historical attractions. Take a break from the heat to visit and learn together as a family.

Cool Ways to Embrace Nature TodayBonus! Download Cool Ways to Embrace Nature Today, a free excerpt from Get Out! 150 Easy Ways for Kids and Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future. Use these 35 eco-friendly ideas to help your family get outside, learn about nature, and experience the world in new ways.

2. Read a Book (or Series) as a Family
Have you always wanted to share your love of Harry Potter with your children? Now is your chance! Make time for reading each day with your children during the summer. Pick a book the whole family can enjoy. If you have kids in middle or high school, you could host a book club of sorts where you all read the book individually and then discuss together as a family. You can add to the fun by having a culminating party where you make food or play games related to the book. If the book is also a movie, read the book and then watch the movie as a family when you’re finished. Have a discussion where you compare and contrast differences between the book and the movie.

3. Plan for the Year Ahead
Before school starts, think of what routines you want to establish with your children. Where and what time will homework be completed each day? Will your children be packing or buying lunch most days? When is bedtime? When do they have to wake up in order to be ready to catch the bus or walk to school? Solidifying and even running through some of these routines will help you and your children be prepared when the new school year starts.

If your children are starting at a new school or moving from one level to another (elementary to middle or middle to high school), they may be feeling uneasy about the start to the school year. If your child is anxious about his or her new school, contact the school and arrange for a tour or a meeting before the school year starts. Meeting the school staff and getting to experience the building could help ease your child’s fears.

How do you help your children get ready for the new school year?

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About Danielle R. Schultz

School Counselor blogger for Free Spirit Publishing Blog
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