Everyone knows it can be stressful when your little one starts kindergarten. It’s a whole new road for both you and your child. However, you should also know that when your tween or teen starts school, the old patterns of elementary school fade away and your child will find themselves in a whole new world at school regarding expectations, rules and responsibilities as well. It is important to prepare them for school and what lies ahead as you transition them away from what elementary school holds to what middle school and high school have to offer. It can be a scary time for both of you! Here are some tips to help you ease them (and yourself!) into it.
Preparing Teens and Tweens for Back to School
Make sure you have a structure in mind for morning time and bedtime. Tweens and teens are often notorious for being hard to wake up and get motivated, especially when it comes to getting them up for the school day. You can help ease them into this by setting your expectations up before school starts and by making it easy for them to get going. This can be accomplished by simply talking with them, reminding them to set alarms and having easy to grab breakfasts ready and available as they head out the door. Make sure they know of consequences for things like missing the bus or skipping breakfast. Also, just like when they were younger, it might help to have them pick out their outfits for the next day to avoid any arguments over what is appropriate to wear. Make sure you also have set bedtimes.
Set aside time for homework. Make sure you can adhere to this time in your schedule as well. Make it clear that this time is specifically set aside for homework and it is mandatory. If you have heard too many times from your child that they do not have any homework, make sure they do something during this hour even if it is just studying their textbooks. This way, they will know that there will be no getting out of it and will find something to do during this time. Make sure they have a good homework space to do it where they are free of distractions and have everything they need.
Get creative with rewards. Teens are often motivated by privileges or free time. If they get good grades, make sure you give them more of these and less of the stuff they hate doing such as chores that are not required of them. Pull back on home duties if they are responsible with their schoolwork. Let them know that the consequences for poor grades is less free time and more study and chore time.
Make sure to be their biggest cheerleader. Just like with young children, teens thrive on positive reinforcement. Make time to tell them how proud you are of them when they succeed and show them with fun outings, free times, sleepovers or anything else that seems to motivate them. Also, in these times when you talk positively to them, make sure to try to gauge their interest in college as well as helping them achieve any goals they have for scholarships, prepping for college and so on.
With some structure and rewards in place, you should be able to create a positive school year ahead!