January 7, 2013

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

We hope by now everyone is beginning to settle back into a routine after the holidays. It’s not always easy to get back into the swing of things. Even if parents are enthusiastic about sending their kids back to school and getting back to a more scheduled life, it can be a particularly challenging time for children of all ages.

Those who struggle with attention and organizational difficulties face a particularly uphill battle, not unlike that which they faced at the start of the school year (see our “back to school” blog for additional tips that can be adapted to the midyear return to school). They have the additional burden of lacking the “sparkly new” motivation that the start of a new school year can bring, not to mention not having a clear end-date to aim for (February/March break is a long way off). How can you help your student transition well from the lazy days of vacation to the rigors of school?

AdditudeMag has some terrific suggestions, as does

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Make the return to school a cause for celebration, not a cause for despair – After the excitement and stimulation of the holidays, it’s no wonder kids feel let down as they go from a more freeform schedule to a set routine. Rather than just accepting a doom and gloom attitude, have a special back-to-school dinner that focuses on your children’s favorite foods or is out at their favorite restaurant. Take this opportunity to give them a new notebook, pencil case, or other school-related gift that will help make the return to school more fun.

Get Back into the Routine – Later bedtimes, no set wake-up hour, irregular mealtimes… vacation is a wonderful opportunity to let go of the schedule for a couple of weeks. But now that school is back in session, it’s important to reestablish the routines you set before vacation. Since for many of our readers that includes coming to work with your Engaging Minds tutors, we will be doing our part to help with this task. Going through the homework assignment books at the beginning of each session, cleaning out backpacks and discussing long- and short-term goals with our students (particularly the older ones) are just some of the ways we will help your child get his/her mind “back in the game.”

Look Forward – Sit down with your child and discuss what s/he is looking forward to in the upcoming weeks. Make sure to put those things on the calendar. Many teachers assign long-term projects in the first couple of weeks after winter vacation, so add those (including all the intermediate due dates for research materials, rough drafts, etc.) to the calendar as well. Forewarned is forearmed, so also be sure to encourage your child to go over these impending projects and papers with his/her tutor (and teacher!) so that we (and they) can work with him/her every step of the way.

Here’s to a positive and productive re-start to the school year, and to continued successful partnerships among students, tutors, parents and teachers. Happy New Year and may 2013 bring you and your families much joy!