Tips and Tricks for Kicking Off the School Year Well!
At First Baptist School, we believe in developing the "whole" child: mentally, physically, and spiritually. School counselor, Rose Cummings, shares some ways that parents can help their students be more prepared for the school year and develop lifelong healthy skills.
Tips for Kicking Off the School Year Well
Get enough sleep
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Establish good work habits like writing down assignments
Create a designated workspace
Limit after school activities
Make rules for screen time, snacks, and other things that need parameters in your home
Though these things sound simple, we all know it's not that easy.
Get Enough Sleep
Count the hours for sleep. Decide how many hours you and your child need on a typical night and schedule yours and their bedtime around that. The average middle schooler needs about 9 hours.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
We've all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so be sure your child is starting their school day off right with a healthy and energizing breakfast. Many 11 and 12-year-olds can make their own breakfast such as hard boiled eggs, toast, cut-up fruit. Consider making breakfasts Sunday evening that will last you throughout the week.
Practice Good Work Habits
Establish work practices that help keep students organized and mindful. Even if your child knows to write down their assignments, it always helps to reiterate this and what your expectations are. These are skills they will take with them through life.
Designate a Workspace
Creating a workspace is very important in helping students focus. Whether it's a desk or maybe a spot at a dining or craft table you don't use, make a space and name it "the workspace." Have sharpened pencils, paper and any other essentials for assignments there, ready to go.
Limit After School Activities
After school activities are great for a number of things including creating friendships, building confidence, exploring new interests, and overall emotional stability; but like most things, moderation is key. Having three children of my own, I know how difficult this can be, but time management is essential.
Map out your hours for eating, family time, bedtime, etc. and see which days you can fit in an extra hour or two for an activity. Stick to this. It is very easy to get overbooked wanting to do well for our children. Research* has shown that having an overly packed schedule actually hinders growth socially and emotionally causing unneeded pressure and stress to the child and the family as a whole: financially, economically, and otherwise. *psychcentral.com
Set Limits for Screen Time
I believe this is one of the most important of all. Make a family set of rules for screen time, and write or print them out. This will help with consistency and accountability. Really think them through. Consider having different times for different days of the week, and add asterisks with extenuating circumstances at the bottom to allow for flexibility, but still keeping the consistency.
Lastly, give yourself and your child some grace. No matter how it looks from the outside, no one is doing this perfectly, but we can be be as consistent as possible, and always provide loving support. Hopefully these tips help give your child (and you!) a great start to the school year. I look forward to meeting and furthering my relationship with each of your children.
Grace and blessings,
Rose M. Cummings MA, LPC
First Baptist School Counselor
Katie Dyson (MA, LPC-A) to Speak at First Baptist School
5th-8th grade parents - If you're looking for more information and advice on any of the latter, or you'd just like to meet a great therapist in town, join us on October 1st at 8:00 am in the First Baptist Sanctuary. Mrs. Katie Dyson will be speaking to us about getting the year started off well! She will also explain the differences between normal Middle School behaviors and reactions, and situations that may benefit from therapeutic intervention. She has a private practice in Mt. Pleasant, and is a referral that I use myself in my practice. We are looking forward to her presence and engagement with us.