How to prepare children for the next academic year

Posted on 20th Aug 2019 in Tutoring

Ella Grimwade, of Tutor House, offers some advice to parents to help soothe those back-to-school nerves...

At the start of the summer, that new school year feels a million miles away and the task of keeping your children entertained over the holidays is more than enough to keep you occupied. But before you know it, the new school year is on the horizon. While getting yourself organised is one thing, it’s easy to forget that the new school year can come as a shock to your child, too.

Whether they are joining a new school, about to start studying for exams or have been assigned a teacher that is renowned for being strict, many students feel some anxiety about starting the new school year. Even students who aren’t worried about the new school year will need some help getting back in the mindset to learn.

Whatever the case for your child, it’s important that you help them to prepare for the year ahead so that they can get the most success and enjoyment from their time at school.

Talk to them about it

Starting a new school year can be intimidating, whatever your child’s age or level. Fortunately, the simple act of talking to them about how they feel can make a huge difference when it comes to soothing those back-to-school nerves.

Make sure you find the time to sit with your child without distractions or other people present so that they have a safe space to talk about any concerns. Make sure you validate any feelings they are having, before offering an alternative view. You can also remind them of the successes they had in the year before and the things they enjoy at school like seeing their friends or taking part in their favourite club.

Whether or not you think your child is worrying about going back to school, getting them talking about the new school year will help them not only to prepare mentally for the return to lessons but will also ensure they are excited about the term ahead.

Get them involved in the 'back to school' shop

While new rucksacks, pencil cases, and shoes are more likely to appeal to younger students, the 'back to school shop' can be a great way to get children of all ages excited about a return to school, and will certainly make sure they are prepared for it.

Shopping with children in tow can seem like a daunting prospect but it pays dividends in terms of getting everyone thinking about, and looking forward to, the new school term. Through giving them a chance to pick out their own learning tools and materials, they'll feel that bit more involved in their own education and will be looking forward to showing off their new gadgets to their classmates. Trust me – nothing rivals a scented gel pen when it comes to stationary-offs.

If you have the funds, indulging your child in something special, whether it’s a new pencil case, a trendy new school coat, a nice pair of football boots for PE or (if you’re happy to push the boat out) a new laptop for homework, can make a huge difference to a child’s attitude to returning to school. It also makes a great reward if you think your child worked particularly hard last year or has made a point of doing their holiday homework.

Get them reading

Arguably the single most important thing you can do for your child, getting them reading over the holidays (and in particular in the run-up to a new term) is hugely beneficial for their learning, creativity and confidence.

Numerous studies have shown that students who read are better communicators, with a wider vocabulary, greater empathy and stronger creativity. Reading with children is a fantastic way to get them interested in new places, people and ideas as well as providing a great bonding activity.

If you know the books that your child is going to study in the coming year, reading them over the summer is a fantastic way to help them prepare, especially if you follow up the reading with a discussion about the characters, plot, and what they liked about the story. Not only will this give your child an advantage going into their lessons, it will also boost their confidence and enable them to put themselves forward in class discussions.

Perhaps most importantly, if your child reads over the summer they may discover their love for books, a gift that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Get a routine going

It’s easy to let the 'holiday feeling' take over and all rules and routines can go out the window. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you leave it until the first day back to wake your child up at 7am it’s going to be something of a shock to the system.

Children of all ages need to have some sort of routine to prepare them for the school year. While you can certainly indulge in plenty of lie-ins, late nights and flexible days over the summer, it is important to start implementing a routine at least a week before your child goes back to school.

Exactly how you want to structure your child’s day is up to you. However, a good place to start is getting your child out of bed and dressed by 8 in the morning (which can be a challenge when it comes to teenagers) and implementing a consistent “school nights” bedtime.

Book time with a private tutor

To make sure that your child is totally prepared for the academic year ahead, it’s well worth investing in a private tutor for lessons in the run-up to the new term. Tutors are able to help with everything from getting your child excited about going back to school and learning to remedy any gaps in their knowledge that may have emerged over the summer.

At Tutor House, our tutors are passionate about providing a personalised learning plan that ensures every student gets the most out of each session – in terms of both learning and enjoyment.

Working with a private tutor before term starts will help your child to get back into the mindset of studying, develop key learning skills and make sure they are fully prepared (if not a little ahead) when they step into school on that first day back. Perhaps most importantly, working with a private tutor will ensure that students feel happy and confident in their abilities, setting them up for a great school year.