4 ways to get your children ready for the new school year

15 January 2016 The Alchemy Team

The mind is a muscle and just as if you were to avoid the gym for 6 weeks (which I’ll admit, sums up my Christmas break well), it takes a while for the blood to get pumping again. So most students start back at school and it takes them about 2 weeks to wake up to the realisation that they are sitting in a classroom and not watching Netflix or playing Xbox.

With just under 2 weeks to go until school resumes, now is a great time to get your kids prepared for school so they arrive at the first day in the zone and ready to go.

Here are 4 strategies I recommend to parents:

Get them reading daily

There is no better way to stimulate young minds than by reading. Whether your child is 7 or 17, try to get them to sit down for an hour each day and read something that will interest them. It could be a novel or a biography, or even the sports section in the local paper – just something that will get their minds working again.

I’m a huge advocate for reading. I don’t have a scientific test to support this, but over the last ten years I have identified a strong link between academic success and those that read for leisure. Inversely, those students who rarely read are often the ones that get left behind. Reading is something that we need to fight to protect, with video games, on-demand TV and smart phones demanding more attention than ever before. If you can encourage your kids to read, then please, for their future, do it.

Start to regulate bed times now

There is an old saying that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit. Let’s hope this isn’t true – because there are only about 13 days until school resumes, and far more than 21 have passed since school ended. That means that if your children are in the pattern of staying up late and waking up later, you need to start breaking that cycle now.

This is the one that affects parents the most – especially with teenagers.

They might fight you on it – and getting them to go to bed by 9pm might seem a bit unrealistic – but just make some changes to limit the activities that keep them up late. Introduce a no electronics rule after 9pm (and turn the wifi off as a way of enforcing it). Get them reading at night as a natural way of calming the brain. Then the next morning, wake them up 15 minutes earlier each day until you arrive at the time they need to be up for school.

Establish routine

Separate from bed times, there are a lot of everyday routines that go out the window during school holidays. Try to bring those back in to the picture. Things like breakfast, recess and lunch times – just like they would at school. You don’t want to send your child back to school to have him starving by mid-morning because he is used to eating at that time. Make every routine regular now so it isn’t a fight when school comes around.

Spend time revising school content from last year

I understand that this might be a bit of a chore for many students, but it is a great way to refresh them on what they have learnt and need to remember. This could be half an hour each day looking through last years textbook, or revising their end of year exam results. Get them to spend some time with their tutor, who will be able to give them a head start on the new year.

School is built on foundations – so it is crucial that your child has a strong understanding of everything they learnt last year – including everything they struggled with. If there was a subject or topic they struggled through, we can send one of our tutors to you before school goes back to ensure they have the foundations in place to learn new topics without getting left behind.

I’ll be starting back with my students the week before school resumes to do exactly that – give them a refresher on last year and give them a head start on 2016.

If you would like to do the same with one of our incredible tutors, you can book your first free session online now.

Good luck with the preparation – and may 2016 be a great year for you and your family!

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