Susan Scheibel offers some tips to help you and your family get in the mood for school.

🔗Q. School starts in two weeks for us. How do I make sure my child is ready to learn?

A. Ahhh….the joys of summer!  Don’t we all fondly remember those youthful days of shifting gears to kick back, hang out, sleep in, enjoy the sun, travel, read your favorite books and have time to follow your passions?

In the classroom <a href="http://www.bigstockphoto.com">BigStock Photo</a>

Building Lego worlds for days or weeks, creating new chapters in your own book of wonder, playing tennis/swimming/chess or reading all day with friends or family, and waking up to new mental and physical growth were the best of those few months each year that would rejuvenate our minds, bodies and spirits.

Especially during the elementary and middle school years, summer is such a welcome change from the routine of school and homework, schedules and expectations.

So how do we as parents and families transition in late summer from those vacation months to the grand back-to-school realities?

While re-entry is tough for both children and adults, here are some suggestions for positively setting the course and gently paving a path back to school each fall:

  • Communicate. Have a family dinner or gathering to talk over favorite memories and experiences from the last few months, honoring personal reflections and summer experiences.
  • Collaborate. Get the children involved in the planning of the next weeks with energy and goals to positively engage in the next school year both mentally (academics) and physically (schedules).  Allow each child to personalize for his/her own age and stage.
  • Chart it out. Guide each child to create their own calendar of meaningful goals with activities to set the course for a great school year ahead.  Start with the date that school begins, then plan backwards with purpose and meaning.
  • Charge forward. Begin today to support each child’s plan of action and preparation, organizing, achieving and marking off the calendar each day.  Action is a powerful, empowering agenda.
  • Celebrate. Be sure to include a weekly celebration of major accomplishments, which could also include refinement of goals and subsequently modifying plans as you go.

The goal should be to empower each child as we prepare for a great school year ahead and build important skills for future directions and transitions.

🔗About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.