Back to School Success

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, but it can also be filled with stress and anxiety. Apprehension and fear of the unknown can make the back to school event a challenging one for the entire family. To support this transition, ensure that children have access to caring adults, the centerpieces of children’s development, who give positive and productive guidance. To promote intellectual and emotional development, children need physical and psychological safety at home, at school and in the community. This “safe place” provides an environment that supports and encourages inquiry, exploration, and play without fear of harm. Healthy and well-nourished children are more able to develop their minds and bodies to concentrate, learn and thrive throughout their school years. The following steps help prepare families to ease into the transition as smoothly as possible:

1) Set a Routine -Setting routines for mornings and evenings, including nutritious meals and an early bedtime, helps children cope with stressors. Routines also help to make children feel comfortable and stable in their environment, resulting in more cooperative behavior both in and out of school.

2) Encourage Good Homework Habits- Set a regular schedule for when and homework will be done. Create an environment that is conducive to getting homework done, such as a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study. Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child’s homework.

3) Help Children Stay Positive-Learning starts at home and a child’s mood affects learning. A positive outlook can inspire children to perform well at school and to tackle homework. Encourage children to reconnect with friends and meet new ones. A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. Refresh these relationships before school starts by reconnecting after the summer break through scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

4) Discuss Safety in Traveling To and From School– Review the safety and rules of traveling to and from school. Practice any new routes or modes of transportation whether this entails riding the bus, biking, walking or by car.

5) Establish Sleep Schedule- Getting enough sleep is critical. Children who do not get enough sleep have difficulty concentrating and learning. Set a consistent bedtime and stick with it. Turn off electronic devices well before bedtime. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, and higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The American Pediatric Association recommends that the optimal amount of sleep for younger children is 10-12 hours per night and for adolescents (13-18 year of age) is in the range of 8-10 hours per night.

The increasingly knowledge-driven world demands education and skills to succeed. An effective education prepares children to build a better tomorrow. Here’s to a healthy and productive school year full of learning and growing.

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


Valerie Holmes
BFP Executive Director