Gearing up for the school year

Things to remember at the start of a new school year

The nights are becoming cooler, the days are becoming shorter, and school is starting up once again. There are some really important things to remember this time of year as we gear up for the new school year.

Sleep is important

Studies show that when adults get fewer than 8 hours of sleep, they start to operate at about 80% of their mental capacity. Now imagine what lack of sleep might do to a child. Those summer nights and late sunsets can make it hard to adjust to a school schedule again, but making an effort to have good sleep habits and a normal routine are paramount to student success. For most children, 8 hours is the minimum number of hours they should be sleeping. Here is a table to find out how much sleep your child should be getting:

Is your child getting enough?

Check your mirrors twice

This time of year puts thousands of school age children out on the sidewalks and streets. They are walking or biking to school and running for buses. There are countless stories of near misses (and some not misses) when drivers are at-risk for hitting those hard-to-see children. PLEASE make sure you are not driving distracted, especially this time of year. Never use your cell phones while driving, check your mirrors twice, and keep your eyes and ears focused on what is around you.

Education is a family affair

It's tempting to pass your children back into the hands of teachers, but education should be reinforced on all sides, including in the home. Here are some easy ways to support your child's education at home:

  • Ask your student how his/her day was. Avoid questions like "How was your day?" and instead focus on discussion questions, like "What is something new you learned today?" "What was difficult for you today?" or "What was the best part of your day?"

  • READ with your child. This could be reading TO your younger children, or reading WITH your older children. That means turning off electronics, not using your phone or multitasking...just sit down and read together. Family reading time is a great way to spend quality time together while reinforcing that the habit is an important--and pleasurable--one to keep....for everyone.

  • Help with homework. Sit down and see what they are working on. Do a practice math problem together or drill them on spelling words. This a great way to foster interaction while supporting the goals your child's teacher has for him/her at home. Can't remember the Pythagorean theorem? That's what we're here for. Bring your child into Beyond the Blackboard for a little extra help. You can relax on the couch and log your own reading minutes while you wait.

The start of a new school year always marks new beginnings. Start these new habits in your family and make a commitment to supporting your children--and our community's children--in every way you can.

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