Empowering Your Child To Start the Year Strong

by Susan Causey, FPD School Counselor

The beauty of summer is the flexibility of time and the relaxed schedule, but as we say adieu to the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer, we feel new energy in the air. It is time to be “intentional” in identifying goals for our children and the steps which will enable them to accomplish these goals. Getting off to a great start is important. Much of what they learn builds upon itself, and the momentum of success will encourage and motivate them to strive to do their best. A great start is the foundation for a successful year.  

Provide Structure

One of the most important things we can provide for our children to help them succeed in school is structure.

Schedule

Help your child establish a schedule for each day. If he or she is a part of creating the schedule, they will “own” it and be more likely to abide by it. The schedule will include time for an afternoon snack, and time to play, with adequate time to do homework before it is too late at night. Teach your child to list the tasks he needs to do from the hardest to the easiest. Saving the easiest for the last helps him to get through the tough jobs while he is still fresh. 

Place

Have a special place for finished homework, and make sure that everything he or she needs for the next day is in one place. It is important that the mornings run as smoothly as possible without emotional issues or hurriedness, so your child will be able to focus on school the next day. Make sure that your he has all his supplies each day. Stock the homework spot with pencils, paper, pencil sharpener, ruler, etc.  It takes 6 weeks to establish a good habit, so you may need to take extra time these first few weeks of school to make sure your child’s “schedule” is running smoothly. 

Sleep

Bedtime is another very important issue. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that school aged children get 10-11 hours of sleep a night in order to be well rested for school. Setting a consistent early bedtime is important. During sleep a person rehearses new knowledge. An alert mind can comprehend and function much better than one which is sleep deprived.  

Additional sleep tips for school-aged children include: 

  • Make sure children’s bedrooms are conducive to sleep – quiet, cool, dark, and comfortable. 
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom. 
  • Limit children’s usage of bright screens before bedtime. The brightness from screens has been shown to suppress people’s normal nighttime release of melatonin. 
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar in the evenings.  

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”  Hebrews 12: 11

Have a great year!!!

Learn more about FPD’s Elementary Program


Susan F. Causey lives in Macon and has served as our School Counselor at FPD since 2007. She received a B.A. in English Literature and Psychology from Vanderbilt University and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University with a certificate in Biblical Studies. She is married to Harold and they have 3 children and 6 grandchildren. Susan enjoys hanging out with her family, being outdoors, going on trips, biking, and working with clay. Her book, “Put on Your Ruby Slippers, We’re Heading Home – Straight Parenting in a Twister World,” is a collection of her columns offering loving, practical parenting advice for today’s young families. For more information or to contact Susan, email her at susan.causey@fpdmacon.org.