“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” 

Frederick Douglass

 

This August as kids are headed back to school, fathers and male role-models are vital in helping their children thrive in the classroom. Here are six impactful ways to play an active part at home and make back to school a success.

  1. Settle into Routines the Week Before School Starts

Whether or not your household keeps a tight bedtime schedule year-round, or if (like my family in the summer) you let the kids stay up “just one more hour… please mom” every night, getting into a school year routine at least one week before class starts will make the transition back to normal easier on your kids, and in the end, on you. After my childhood summers ended and it was time to return to the school year schedule, I remember being incredibly tired in class— I could barely keep my head off the desk, much less pay enough attention to my teachers to fully engage with the material. Taking the first week or more of class to adjust aways set me behind. There’s no worse feeling for your kid than feeling behind when they just started back. One day at time, move bedtime incrementally earlier, and that first week of school just may end up being an enjoyable, energetic, exciting experience for your child.

  1. Enjoy the Last Days of Summer Together

Building up the suspense of the first day back at school by looking back at the fun of summer, the previous school year, as well as looking forward to their goals and hopes for the coming school year, will help alleviate the dread of summer ending, and hopefully increase anticipation for the good things to come. Consider planning a time the day before school starts when you and your family write out goals, hopes, and wants for the upcoming season. Taking time to not only prepare for back to school, but also to enjoy the last days before going back can create a bonding experience that will carry a sense of ease and fun into the school-year.

  1. Make Room in the Budget for the Right School Supplies

School supplies can be expensive, and with current inflation, gas prices, and other rising costs, everyone has a bit less wiggle room every month. As back to school nears, consider setting aside a little extra cash with the intent to get the kids exactly what they need to be prepared, confident, and excited on their first day of school.

 

  1. Encourage Kids to Make School a Priority

Parents can be a bigger influence on children than any teacher, coach, friend, online personality, or movie star. The words they speak and the habits they encourage will often stick with kids for their whole lives. Encouraging kids to prioritize school, not only to do homework and make good grades, but to truly love to learn and grow will create a sense of meaning and accomplishment that they will carry with them. Families where parents help with homework, invest in their child’s learning, and make the home a learning environment will always make school more enjoyable. Ways to encourage learning at home could include asking about your child’s studies, learning along with them, helping with homework, and making a homework station where your child can focus. Being involved in kid’s studies at home will make them feel like learning at home is a “team effort” and likely increase their willingness to get their work done.

  1. Talk About Back-to-School Anxiety 

Many kids are terrified of going to a new school. If your child is starting elementary school, going from elementary to middle school, going from middle school to high school, or moving schools in general, there can be an immense fear of not fitting in, not doing well, not having friends, and being in an unfamiliar environment. Many times, anxiety, especially in kids, can be helped simply by talking through it. It’s unlikely that they’ll have no anxiety at all, but giving them the opportunity to discuss their concerns and talk about potential remedies will make the coming school year look a little less gloomy. Showing emotional support and addressing intangible anxiety with your child can improve self-esteem and instill a sense of belonging at home. Visiting the school with your child for open house events and teacher meetings can be an opportunity to alleviate anxiety and make the first day back seem exciting instead of fearful.

Back to school can be tough on both parents and kids, but showing up and offering full support for your child both at home and at school will give them the confidence they need to succeed from the first school day to the last.

 

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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