Kick The New School Year Off Right With These 7 Tips!
For many girls, switching gears from sweet summer freedom to set-scheduled school days is one the trickiest pivots they experience all year. After all, replacing all-day fun with packing lunches, organizing homework projects and heading into bed early is not everyone’s idea of a good time. For others, structured class schedules, after school team activities, trusted teachers and lunch hours with friends are a welcomed return. Most girls fall somewhere in between and see both sides of the coin.
Within every girl is a powerful potential that leads by example — whether it’s on the basketball court, speech team or cafeteria talking to a group of her peers. Start this school year off strong and watch your girl ignite her limitless potential. Check out the tips below on how to get started!
Ease into an attainable schedule
Is your girl up playing video games until 2:00 AM? Catching lightning bugs outside until 11:00 PM? Counting sheep until noon? If you needed a sign to officially get your girl’s evening and morning schedule in order — this is it! We are certainly not saying cut her summer fun short. We’d never! Summer break is essentially made for kids to de-stress, enjoy hobbies and connect with friends, but it can sometimes inspire some habits that do not work during the school year.
Slowly but surely, begin implementing earlier bed and rise times, meal schedules and screen limits. Perform a temperature check before school begins, assess how the new schedule’s been working and how your girl is adjusting. Allowing space for her feedback will assure her she has a say in the matter and that you are on the same team!
Set up a homework station
Like any successful and repeatable habit, consistency with homework is a MUST! In the past three years, as millions of adults pivoted into remote work settings, one thing became abundantly clear: to effectively get work done at home, a reliable working space is critical. It does not mean an office, special room or luxury furniture and gadgets — a clean desk or quiet corner can easily get the job done.
The same applies to our girls and where they crank out their homework. A consistent spot for homework, as well as supplies such as pencil, paper, calculator, notecards, keeps girls organized and focused on the task at hand without distractions. Try out a few options throughout your living space, see what works best, then work with your girl to make the spot as comfortable, functional and supportive as possible.
Prioritize healthy meals
The start of a fresh school year is a great time to also ignite a new healthy habit. Why not focus on how we fuel our bodies? Getting in the routine of eating healthy, on schedule and with some preparation will make your girl’s transition into assigned lunch breaks much simpler. In terms of boosting the health factor in foods, try starting with subtle switches. It does not have to be pricey or fancy and applies to however your girl enjoys her lunch – pre-packed or from the cafeteria.
Your girl will be far more likely to respond positively to a gradual change – especially if she lends a hand – as opposed to a major overhaul, It could be as simple as replacing chocolate chip ice cream with low-sugar flavored Greek yogurt or baking (as a team!) sweet potato fries in place of fast-food fries. Watching a fun animated YouTube video about nutrition is also a fun way to enhance the learning experience and learn from experts!
Arrange activities, play dates or fun outings
Schedule a few extra last-minute summer or upcoming activities for your girl and her friends, siblings or other family members. It could be a picnic (indoor at home or at a local park or backyard), volunteer session, recycled-material craft project, new recipe – anything that makes your girl light up! These uplifting experiences will remind her that just because summer is winding down fun isn’t exiting her life entirely. Whether or not school is in session, there will always be opportunities for joy. We just have to be thoughtful and intentional with planning when schedules, practices and club dates begin to pile up!
Validate your girl’s feelings
Every feeling your girl experiences is valid. By expressing this reality to your girl and informing her that her feelings are never “wrong”, “weird”, or “dramatic” you assure her that she is not in this alone or doing anything incorrect. The stressors of being a kid are no joke. Tell her that. Tell her how you were able to grow from similar experiences but allow her the space to tell her story. A little perspective — and a whole lot of empathy — can go a long, long way. When we relate to our girl’s realities and empathize with their complexities, girls often feel less judged or misunderstood.
Help alleviate her concerns by practicing positive affirmations — or leaving surprise post-its — that inspire confidence, teach a new fun skill or highlight what makes her unique. And above all else, simply being there to listen is often the best validation.
Visit the school in advance
To help ease some of the stress of ‘the big return’, some teachers, administrations or principals allow families to visit schools ahead of the first day. By taking advantage of this opportunity, your girl will be reminded of the familiarity of the space (unless she is a new student – then, all the more reason to stop by) and the staff members who lead it. When possible, putting faces to names is a great confidence-builder for any person who is anxious in social settings or fears the unknown. Consider it a little early homework!
Additionally, when participating in a pre-school-year visit or orientation, feel free to discuss curriculum details with your girl’s educators to get a sneak peek of what’s to come. And if you are unable to attend the school because of prior engagements, consider setting up a phone or video call. Anything helps!
Sign up for meaningful activities (*hint, hint*)
As touched on in a previous tip, having something to look forward to is a VERY effective way to push through a difficult situation. Leveling out discomfort with something comfortable is often enough for people to persevere, stay focused and never give up hope. If your girl is dreading the new school year, share with her some ideas for activities that may boost her confidence or spark a new interest.
What spark did you see in her during the summer? Was she frequently sketching away in a notebook? Maybe she’s destined for art club! Did she shoot hoops in the driveway for hours? Looks like the basketball team might be a great fit! Let her know there is a place for her and that her talents are worth pursuing. And if she is looking to have an experience that deepens her relationships, gets her moving, teaches her life-long lessons and inspires self-worth, we just might know of the perfect program! 😉
Curious about that perfect program we referenced? Click here to learn more about our life-changing opportunities for girls!