Six Tips to Start the New School Year Strong

A new school year is always full of excitement and possibility, but it can also bring with it some fear and anxiety. Whether you are a student, parent, or teacher, the beginning of a new school year brings a unique sense of anticipation. This can be especially true for students starting in a new school or a new grade. What are the teachers going to be like? Will the other kids be friends with me? These are questions students might be asking themselves. As parents, we know you want your child to be happy and successful. Let’s explore six tips to start the new school year strong for parents and students.

1. Embrace Change

Every new school year is a chance to start over. You can think of a new school year as a fresh start, a time to embrace the “what-ifs” and potential for growth. Though new beginnings can be scary, we ask students to open their minds and look at the new year as an opportunity to approach change with a positive attitude. After all, change often leads to personal growth and development.

2. Develop a Routine

Although they might give you an earful about it, kids need structure. Structure makes children feel safe; they want to know what to expect. Many students struggle with how to approach tasks in an organized fashion. Sometimes, inside, they feel chaotic and need their environment to provide some much-needed structure. Building routines into your child’s daily schedule, like regular bedtimes, designated areas to put their belongings, and a morning “getting ready” checklist, can help students know what to expect each day and get help them start the new school year strong.

3. Set Goals for the New School Year

Setting goals is one of the most important things to do to start the new school year strong. The goals can be personal, academic, or extracurricular. Having an idea of what students want to accomplish in their new school year can keep them motivated.

4. Build Strong Relationships 

For many kids, the thought of making new friends and socializing with them can be scary. It’s best when this happens organically through shared interests or activities. This could be through a sport, an after-school club, or something else. What is your student really interested in? Use that to begin the process of helping them build relationships. Building positive relationships with teachers, classmates, and school staff is also essential. Building positive relationships with the people your student sees daily will give them a support system that’s invaluable throughout the school year. This also gives them people they can go to when seeking guidance or asking questions at school.

5. Stay Organized

This is a big one for students. Starting the year by establishing effective organizational strategies will be huge in the long run. How many times have you seen them shove papers into their backpack and wonder how they will ever find them again? This might be helping them put together a binder or a notebook with tabs for each class. They may need a calendar with deadlines written down so they don’t forget. Staying on top of school and keeping everything organized can help ease students’ anxiety. As teachers, many of us have also struggled with organization. Hear one teacher’s story in From Struggling Student to Successful Teacher: My Journey with Executive Functioning Challenges.

6. Self Care

It is always essential to prioritize self-care, especially during the craziness of a new school year. Self-care looks different for every student. It could include daily movement, maintaining a balanced diet, finding time for creativity, or even getting enough sleep. One crucial factor is matching your child’s temperament with their schedule. Some kiddos love to be active and are eager to sign up for after-school clubs and activities. Other children want to come home from school and decompress by reading a book or having some alone time. Engaging in one activity a week is plenty for some students, while others might push you to sign up for too many. You must balance their preferences with what you feel is the best schedule for them AND what you can manage as a parent. If you are racing from practice to practice and are constantly stressed out, that’s not good for anyone. Setting a two-activity limit is reasonable and even preferable. It allows your child to prioritize activities they love and/or want to engage in. If your child is still struggling, they should seek help from counselors or trusted adults at their school. 

Start the New School Year Strong

Starting a new school year is like embarking on an exciting but nerve-wracking adventure. It allows one to embrace the change while establishing new goals and routines. Following our six tips to start the new school year strong will set your family up for success all year long. Remember that your student can achieve great things with a positive outlook. Here’s to a productive and rewarding new school year!