Keys to a Successful School Year
Where on earth is the summer going? I walked into Target yesterday, and all of the back-to-school displays are replacing the patio furniture. It feels early! However, it’s nearly August; the tax-free shopping day is just around the corner, followed by the Iowa State Fair– the school year is just around the corner. As the days of summer are rapidly winding down, preparing for the school year moves to the forefront of our minds. So how can you make sure that the transition back to school is as easy as possible?
Routine, routine, and more routine! Start establishing a routine that works for your family and this upcoming school year. Consistent nightly routines + bedtimes, and wake-up times + morning schedules.
Routines cultivate these five qualities in children:
- Calm Nervous System and School Year. Of course I start with this one as a nervous system based chiropractor, because a calm nervous system is EVERYTHING for a child. Our brains love patterns, consistency, and predictability. Without routines our brains waste huge amounts of energy trying to think ahead and decide what comes next, and for kids they feel that unpredictability even more. Routines, however, allow our brains to feel safe and secure so they can use those big, beautiful brains for the things that matter. Kids can spend their time to learn, focus, and do what they need to to thrive in school.
- Feeling in control. The changes from summer to returning back to school can feel big to kids. Having a routine that stays constant even though their environment and responsibilities are changing lets them have a feeling of control while they adjust.
- Keeps anxiousness at bay. New teachers, classrooms, classmates, and even new schools for some can definitely give any child some butterflies. But having that foundation from their routine and the control they feel going in helps to keep the anxiousness to a minimum.
- Healthy Habits. Consistent bedtimes and meal times help to create healthy habits that not only support kids now, but in their future as well.
- Stronger Confidence. Children thrive off of positive attention, which reaffirms and engrains positive behaviors. Following a routine at school and at home leads to more opportunities to reaffirm kids, and explode their confidence. Children take that confidence with them to school, allowing them to trust in their abilities.
In the next week spend an afternoon setting up a routine with your children. Start by doing a vision board for the school year. What are they most excited for, what goals do they have, what fears and worries do they have going in? Help them envision a successful school year where they learn, grow, and thrive.
Then with those goals and excitement in mind let them participate in establishing your family’s routine. Wake up time, breakfast, time you need to leave after school, and bedtime routines are all part of it. Let them feel like their input matters (within reason of course!) while guiding them towards a schedule that works for your family. Now put that schedule somewhere they can see, and put those routines in place now so that the school year transition is easier.
Weave time into your routine to engage their brain again in learning before school begins. Reading is a fun and easy way to get their mind ready for school. Depending on the age either have them read daily or spend time reading with them. Practice math facts from the year before to get those wheels turning. Simple things that help to engage their minds in school.
Lastly, make sure that you have fun and enjoy the rest of the summer as a family. Each season whether summer or the school year brings its own unique challenges and level of busyness. Make sure that amidst all of that you have time to make memories together with your kids. The days are long, but the years are short as they say.
Enjoy the rest of your summer friends, and have the best school year!
About the Author
Dr. Miranda Overbergen is a family wellness advocate and chiropractor who works with families to guide them in a health journey that leads to healthy nervous systems and reaching their goals in health and life. She co-owns Cultivate Chiropractic with her sister Dr. Katelyn in Altoona where they empower the lives of people they touch in health and connection. She tackles life alongside her husband, Steven in Altoona.