I’ve always loved back-to-school season, the leaves begin to change, football is back on TV, and don’t even get me started with school supplies shopping! But it seems that not everyone loves it as much as I do, especially your kids. So what can you do to help set your kids up for a successful academic year and foster a love of learning (and maybe even school supplies)?
One thing you can do is go school supplies shopping with your kids—let them choose their own spirals, folders, pencils, and pen cases so they can not only have some independence, but also find some enjoyment in the materials they’ll be using everyday.
When it comes to helping your kids with executive functioning, it’s important to start them off as organized as possible. Start by emptying out that backpack from last year, my guess is it’s filled with crumpled up notes and maybe even some old snacks. Different color spirals and notebooks can help your children keep their different classes straight and an assignment notebook is a must!
You might be tempted to constantly check your child’s assignment notebook to make sure they are doing their homework, but try not to nag your child to do it—that will only create more resentment and less motivation. Instead, after snack time after school, set up a time and place for homework with plenty of pencils, pens, and highlighters and NO screens. Let your kids know that once they finish their homework they can go play—leave it up to them. Hopefully this will save both you and your kids some arguing and frustration.
You can create a culture that fosters a love of learning by making sure to talk about what your children learned at school each day at the dinner table. Some families enjoy making it into a game, such as “Two truths and a lie” or “High, Low, Ha.” Be creative, whatever gets your kids excited, laughing, and talking!
Lastly, we all tend to focus on the grades and numbers too much, let’s try to get back to what is more important. Make sure to not only reward your kids for good grades, but also for showing improvement, effort, and passion with their classes, homework, tests and projects.
And in case you weren’t already counting, only 8 more months until Summer vacation!
Dr. Debra Kissen is CEO of Light On Anxiety CBT Treatment Center. Dr. Kissen specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety and related disorders. Dr. Kissen is the author of the Panic Workbook for Teens, Rewire Your Anxious Brains for Teens: Using CBT, Neuroscience, and Mindfulness to Help You End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry (The Instant Help Solutions Series) and Break Free from Intrusive Thoughts: An Evidence-Based Guide for Managing Fear and Finding Peace. Dr. Kissen also has a special interest in the principles of mindfulness and their application for anxiety disorders. Dr. Kissen has presented her research on CBT and mindfulness-based treatments for anxiety and related disorders at regional and national conferences. Dr. Kissen is the Co-Chair of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Public Education Committee. Dr. Kissen was the recipient of the 2020 Gratitude for Giving Spirit Award and the 2018 Anxiety Depression Association of America Member of Distinction Award.