I don’t know about you, but summer is not my best time as a parent. Want to watch TV? Ok! Want to watch a movie and eat popcorn? Ok! Want to play on the computer for 2 hours? Ok!
Granted, I’m being slightly facetious and don’t just let my kids veg out on electronics all day, everyday, but there is a healthy amount of TV and computer time happening in our house during the summer – especially come August… We’ve done lots of great outdoor actives as well and lots of summer traveling, but I’ve still got to work and sometimes I can’t handle breaking up fights over the Batman car for the 19th time. I know you know what I mean.
But enough about my poor parenting choices. Now that kids are heading back to school, how do we prep them to sit still and learn again? Have the lost their ability to focus and learn unless Phineas & Ferb are on a screen in front of them? God, I hope not.
But some kids do need help re-adjusting to the structure and focus necessary for school; and if your child has behavioral, social, or learning difficulties, it can make this transition back to school even more difficult.
The education advocates at Brain Balance Achievement Centers – a holistic, drug-free approach to addressing behavioral, social, and learning difficulties – have five surprising strategies to get your child (with or without difficulties) ready to learn again. Try implementing some of these as summer winds down.
Brain Balance’s 5 Back-To-School Tips
Back-To-School TIP 1: PRACTICE KINESTHETIC ACTIVITIES
Activities that involve active physical motion help children learn faster and retain more information. Enjoy the last rays of summer while teaching your child “learning can be fun” by taking them on activities like nature walks. You can find more ideas on how to get outside in this post.
Back-To-School TIP 2: COME UP WITH A DAILY SCHEDULE
A concrete routine keeps your children grounded, and it’s especially necessary to re-establish one after the unscheduled months of summer. Let your child have input into the plan—it will give them agency and make them feel empowered. I’ve found that when my kids know the routine doesn’t involve TV or computer, they stop asking after a few days. But it takes consistency on my part.
Back-To-School TIP 3: SPEND TIME IN THE KITCHEN
Let your child do simple activities like measuring ingredients, dividing up portions, and reading recipes. This reinforces their reading and math skills without making them feel intimidated. Plus, it helps you with dinner—or even back to school meal prep.
Back-To-School TIP 4: HAVE YOUR CHILD START JOURNALING
Have your child write about their feelings or thoughts. This is a fun way to re-activate their writing skills and show them that writing is meaningful. And, of course, that will reflect in their school assignments and grades. Try having them journal about their favorite summer activities. Get some printable summer journaling pages in this post, or buy them their own journal to get them excited. I have lots of options for kids journals in my shop.
Back-To-School TIP 5: INTEGRATE FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES
Stimulate your child’s tactile and visual senses by letting them play with toys like sidewalk chalk and finger paints. These activities are sensory and help your child develop fine movements. They’re also plain ol’ fun!
If you are interested in going deeper, you can check out this simple online assessment from Brain Balance to understand whether your child might have left- or right-brain weakness.
The bottom line is, start transitioning now with movement and activities that make your children think.
Summer was fun – now it’s back to business!