Tips to transition back to school

Best Practices for Transitioning Back to School

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Best Practices for Transitioning Back to School

You have had a fun-filled summer break, and now it’s time for your children to go back to school.  All that fun probably meant:

  • Staying up later in the evenings
  • Extra ice cream, popsicles, and snacks
  • Sleeping in most mornings to face a care-free unstructured day

There’s no guilt for a relaxed and memory making summer, but please extend grace when your students are having trouble transitioning back to a more regimented schedule.

Here are some tips for the transitions relating to sleep, nutrition and routines.

Sleep is of utmost importance for children to perform well and thrive in school. Studies have shown that children who get at least nine hours of sleep per night have a higher GPA than their fellow students who don’t get enough. Sleep rejuvenates the brain which is essential in memory, concentration, decision making, and social behavior. To transition, try gradually changing bedtimes 30 minutes earlier per day until adequate sleep time is achieved. Abruptly changing bedtime will most likely result in frustration for both you and your child.

Nutrition is the fuel your student uses to succeed at school. Proper diet gives many of the same benefits as adequate sleep. In addition, it produces a healthier body weight resulting in a sense of well-being, lack of discipline problems, and reduces the risk of illness and disease. Give your student a great start with a healthy breakfast. It’s important to include foods high in protein, fiber, and vitamins. There are many quick foods to aid you in getting out the door on time in addition to giving your children a good start. Be creative when packing lunches sneaking in healthy, lower sugar, lower fat foods. Here is a link to show the benefits of “Eating the Rainbow of Healthy Foods.” This is a great resource showing white, yellow, red, purple, and green foods and specific health benefits for each category.

Routines are the plans in motion that are predictable and familiar. They provide the boundaries and goals for successful school days. These plans help eliminate arguments when facing the hustle and bustle of a busy school morning.  A chart can be helpful for younger children as a visual for what they can expect at bedtime and morning time. Older children might find that a calendar or planner is more relatable for the plan. Give your kids the security of knowing what to expect. To eliminate clothing decisions in the morning, plan outfits and lay them out before bedtime.

Puzzles Help Keep young Brains Active During Summer

Keep Those Brains Active

Keep Those Brains Active

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin

During the pandemic, many conversations came up about gaining the “quarantine 15”.  (We might have all fell prey to some sort of weight gain!) There were months of more sedentary days. Just as our bodies get flabby and out of shape, our minds can get out of shape over the summer if we don’t engage them and keep them active.

Jigsaw Puzzles are a fun way to challenge the brain.  Young children learn the concept of fractions of the picture being a part of the whole.  They also learn shape recognition and fine motor skills.  Research suggests puzzles aid in increasing concentration and sharpening memory.  My mom typically got out a jigsaw puzzle in the cold winter months, but why not summer.  They are a fun way to give the brain exercise while also boosting our mood.

Learning a New Language is a great way to keep your brain active and challenged.  Today, there are many apps for young and old alike to learn a new language.  My 10-year-old granddaughter is doing this and has partnered with one of her friends as they challenge each other to complete 5 lessons each week.  This keeps both of them on track and in the process, they are learning French! A couple apps to consider are Duolingo and Gus on the Go.

Dance!  Dancing releases endorphins, improves coordination, strengthens muscles and is just plain fun!  Learning a new line dance or joining a dance class will keep your brain remembering the moves and sequences of the steps.  There are many tutorials on YouTube for learning a line dance.  May I suggest the Cupid Shuffle, a personal favorite.

Be the Teacher.  Teach a friend or family member how to do something, such as making a craft, playing a card game, or playing a musical instrument.  Being the teacher keeps your brain thinking of how to put yourself in the student’s shoes remembering when you learned.  You will have to recall each step in the process and think through the “how to’s” that will help them be a success.  Patience will be needed in seeing mistakes and knowing how to correct them.  Reverse the roles and have them teach you something.  Of course, learning exercises the brain every time.

Above are just a few of the many ways you can ensure that your brains don’t turn to mush over the break.  You can return to school knowing your brain is in shape and ready to learn. Follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice and make some investments in knowledge!

a family playing board games together to keep young minds sharp in the summer time

Keep Young Minds Sharp—Play Games!

Keep Young Minds Sharp—Play Games!

Summertime is funtime for kids and adults of all ages.  It is time off school for most children, but you can help their brains to be sharp when school starts again.  I can think of no better way to boost the brain than playing games.  Games are a way of teaching children social skills, strategy, math, problem-solving, and language.  The kids are having so much fun that they don’t notice they’re learning.  Kids today are probably going to find a way to get screen time through television and/or video games, so what we’re focusing on is games away from the screen.

First important tip is: Parents(or Grandparents),  participate in the games with your children.

Kids love it when Mom, Dad, or Grandparents play with them. This is also opportunity for you to teach taking turns and good sportsmanship with younger children and strategy to older ones.  Of course, the main benefit is the bond you make with your favorite people.

Most all games will have teachable elements for children.  The following are some of the classic games.  All these classics have “Jr.” versions for younger children who aren’t quite ready for the regular ones.

  •  Monopoly teaches focusing on cash flow, and counting cash
  • Yahtzee teaches decision making and math
  • Clue teaches logical thinking and problem solving by process of elimination
  • Scattegories teaches word retrieval and related ideas in specific categories
  • Scrabble improves spelling, vocabulary and conversation

Other games that are great teachers are Simon and Bop-It.  These two are great for the car and both come in travel size and regular size—both portable.

Stay smart.  Make memories.  Have fun.  Play games!

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Family running in field

Spring Break Time–Connect with Your Kids

Spring Break Time–Connect with Your Kids

 

Spring Break means great opportunities to connect and build better relationships with your children or grandchildren.  I can’t think of a better environment to truly connect than when school is out and you are spending light-hearted, fun time with the kiddos. View the article by Clem Boyd, published by Focus on the Family, to get a great resource for the how-to’s of building relationship with your children. He emphasizes: get into their space, keep it real, enjoy family time, do projects together, and be silly. He includes age appropriate ideas.

When choosing activities for Spring Break, movies are fun, but not interactive with your children. Make sure to include outings where you can engage in conversation with your kids. Also, don’t shy away from including their friends, as this can give you even better insight to their world and perceptions. Indoor games along with household projects and family mealtime can also be great opportunities. Don’t let these precious years go by without building these relationships and inputting into your kids’ lives. They want to be heard and understood by you. Your effort in attempting to close the communication gap will be time well spent!

 


 

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