We all know the three Rs of school, but what about the four Rs of the holidays? Follow these steps to help your teen get ready for the new school year (or term)…
The great thing about the summer holidays is how long they are! Try to give your teen (and yourself) plenty of downtime so that you are all relaxed and refreshed by the time school starts again. If you can, keep the final days of the holidays fairly quiet, rather than tiring everyone out with last-minute activities.
The New Year’s tradition of reflecting on the past and making resolutions for the future is not just for adults. Encourage your teen to learn from their experiences of the last year and set themselves up for the next. There’s no need to hold a formal ‘review’, just find some time to chat about:
- things they did and didn’t like about school last year
- things they feel they did and didn’t do well
- things they’d like to do and achieve this year.
Then encourage your teen to think about what they can do to achieve their goals, and how you can help them. If they had some challenges last year, talk about what happened and why, and work out what your teen (and you) can do this year so they have a better time. When your teen has strategies for handling problems of the past, backed up by your support, they are much more likely to start the new school year with a positive mindset.
The new school year gives every student a fresh start – different classmates, different teachers, perhaps even a different school. Your teen will also have more independence, responsibilities and opportunities at school, so it’s a good time to think about giving them more at home too. Here are some areas to consider:
- personal responsibility – managing their homework routine, travelling to school by themselves
- family contribution – cooking the occasional meal, putting on the washing
- routines – bedtimes
- privileges – screen time, TV programs, going out with friends.
A gradual transition from ‘holiday mode’ to ‘school mode’ makes the first day back much easier, so start getting back into the school routine a few days before term starts. Make sure your teen gets all their school things ready well ahead of time, and lets you know if they need anything new. Remember also to check how they are feeling about going back to school, and talk about any concerns they might have.
Then make sure they get a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, give them a big hug, and send them off to class knowing that you’ve given them a great start to the school year!
For more ideas on restarting, see our Back to school – for teens article.