Let’s face it: Kids don’t come to school for the reason we would like them to! They come to school primarily to socialize and have fun. This is especially true when they’ve been off for the summer and haven’t seen many of their friends for all those weeks.
There are, however, fundamentals that can help students be more focused on learning. It may be a good idea to have a talk with your son or daughter about how to be ready to learn during this back-to-school period.
Here are 6 back-to-school preparedness tips:
1. Come dressed for success. Visit a website for teens with your child and look at pictures of the teens on the site. Ask, “What do you think about him? What kind of person is she? Where do you think they’re going?” These questions can spark a discussion about how someone’s appearance gives an impression. Talk about what kind of impression your child wants to give of himself. Also, read my recent blog post about being aware of your school’s dress code before shopping for back-to-school clothes with your children.
2. Have all the school supplies you need. Additionally, help your child have them organized in easy-to-find places. Being prepared is the first step to being a good student. If your daughter comes to class, sits down, and gets out her notebook and pen, the impression she gives is that she is serious about learning. Teachers notice this and will appreciate her student skills.
3. Look at the teacher, smile, and listen. It is amazing to see how many students forget to do this! (Especially on the first day of school when kids are so excited to be back and see all their friends.) They look everywhere but at the teacher! Remind your child that when the teacher says, “Listen up!” if he’s already looking and listening, he’s a step ahead of the other students.
4. Participate actively when class begins. Encourage your child to ask questions. If she knows the answer to a question the teacher is asking, tell her to raise her hand. Remind her to be sure to give other students a chance to answer questions, too. She should at least try to do most things the teacher asks, even if it is hard for her. She should ask for help when she needs it, but be patient if the teacher can’t get to her right away.
5. Be respectful of classmates. All students need to show respect for others in the class. If someone seems rude, consider that he might be having a hard time with something totally out of his control. Remind your child that we can never know what is going on in another person’s life.
6. Take charge of yourself. Help your child understand that taking charge of himself and his own learning is within his control. This is an area that struggling students often need help understanding. He also has to be responsible for his own actions. What other students are doing is their business. The teacher will take care of them if they need help knowing what to do.
With a little proactive planning, students can be ready to make the most of the new school year. School can be fun, and it is a place to socialize with friends. But learning as much as possible should be a student’s highest priority.
Students, I wish you well as we all go back to school for another year!