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Newsletter – Back to School Tips for Success

Steps to Get Kids Back on a School Sleep Schedule

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If you have older kids whose schedule has gotten way off, you may want to start 1 1/2 to 2 weeks out. For these kids whose sleep schedule has gotten off by 2 hours or more:

  • Set a wake up time that is within an hour to an hour and a half of wake up time for school. So, if school wake up time is 7am and they’ve been sleeping until 10am or later every day, set the wake up time for 8 to 8:30am. The first couple of days may be painful!
  • Have fun and interesting activities planned each day, whether it’s breakfast out and a morning movie, or any other activity or play date with friends.
  • Then, for the week leading up to school, follow the protocol below.

For kids who have not gotten too far off (or the second week for kids who have!):

  • Move the bedtime earlier by 15 minutes every 2-3 days
  • Also, move wake up time up by 15 minutes for the following morning

Example:
So, if your kids are going to bed at 9:30pm and waking up at 8:30am, set bedtime for 9:15pm for 2-3 days and wake them up by 8:15am.

Then, move to 9pm bedtime and 8am wake up, etc.

Repeat until you get to the needed wake up time, making sure that the desired wake up time is reached by the first day of school, if not before.

 

Steps to Setup a Successful Homework Space

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Space

The space needs to be…

  • Quiet
  • Well-supplied
  • Organized
  • Good lighting
  • Few distractions

This means low activity and no TV on in background. These things interfere with sustained and focused attention.

 

If your child is reading, he can lounge. But if any writing is required it should be at a desk or table.

Supplies
For younger grades: dictionary, markers, crayons, colored pencils, paper, ruler, pencils, sharpener and erasers. For older kids add calculators, compass, computer and any other class specific materials that may be required. You can print out our handout on Homework Logistics if you would like a checklist for the supplies and needs for homework space.

Keep your eye out for upcoming projects and ask your child if special materials will be needed. Then be sure to get them in advance.

Schedule
Block out time and put it on the calendar, being sure to work around extracurricular activities.

Keep in mind that some kids need a break after school before starting homework. While others want to get it done and out of the way. Discuss with your child what she needs/wants.

When it comes to time management, if your child has more than 1 subject you will want to help prioritize the homework session, what is most important? What should be last? What can your child do alone versus where might she need help? What kind of supplies are needed to complete the assignments?

If your child doesn’t have anything more pressing or important, then you can help your child figure out which homework is more difficult and which is easier. Have your child do the harder work first so he will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.

Don’t let homework bump up against bedtime. You don’t want your child losing sleep over homework as this can affect sleep. Then, she is tired for school the next day. Then, it is in danger of becoming a negative cycle. So it’s better to put it away and give your child time to settle down, leaving at least 30 minutes to relax before bedtime.

If saving anything for the morning, make it rote work, something like writing out spelling words, a math sheet or reviewing concepts for a test.

Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if the project involves getting together with classmates.

General Tips
If you try something and it doesn’t work, get rid of it. But if it works, stick with it like glue until it doesn’t work anymore.

Once a week organize and clean out the backpack. This is part of learning organization and time management skills.

If backpack or notebooks are still getting too messy, build in extra 5 minutes during homework time for organizing. For kids who are very neat, you can organize every 2 weeks.

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