Tips for Parents: How to Prepare for the School Year Ahead
The school bell may not be ringing right now, but summer can be a great time for all kinds of learning opportunities. Summer represents 25% of the available 'school time' in a child’s life and can lead to the “summer slide” which is when children forget some skills or concepts, they learned in the previous school year and have to spend the first few weeks of the school year catching up. As we enter the second half of summer, it's a good time to start to get ready for the school year.
Prepare for the School Year Ahead
Simple things like reading every day or writing something like a poem, story, or letter to a friend, can help kids to keep their skills sharp and their interests peaked. It's also a great time to review old math concepts and to make sure that they are ready to get back into the swing of things come September. The first 60 months of life are the most active in terms of growth and development. They represent huge opportunities for kids to learn new things and develop skills. Reading to your children is a wonderful way to spend time with them and help them develop literacy skills. After a while, kids will start to be able to 'read' the book themselves which is a great stepping-stone to them learning sight words. Make the bedtime books available to them all day and you'll see them return to them on their own. Kids like the familiar and as they recall from memory the words, they will also start to recognize the letters and written words. These are invaluable pre-literacy skills that help kids learn to read at an early age, giving them an advanced start.
Getting Back into Normal School Routines
Starting to inch back into normal routines and bedtimes is also recommended as we get into August so that kids don't feel like it's a shock to go from summer to fall. A good way to begin getting back into a routine is to start going to bed 5-15 min earlier every week so that you get back to the normal school routine about a week or two before school starts. For those with younger kids or those who are starting school for the first time, getting them familiar with routines and introducing colors, numbers, and sounds can help children feel more comfortable with those concepts.
Just because school is out of session does not mean that children have to stop learning! Learning can be fun for many children especially when it is done in a home environment so engage your children with activities such as math, reading, and writing so they can keep their skills sharp, and the learning doesn’t stop over the summer!