Changing from the relaxed, sleepy-eyed mornings to the forced wakefulness of a new schedule imposes unwanted stress on everyone in the household. With the mindset of capitalizing on the concept of a fresh start, students can set themselves up for a whole year of success by considering a time-efficient routine!
A Goodnight’s Sleep
To thrive academically, children ranging from preschool through college need the ability to focus, concentrate, process, and retain information, communicate, and feel alert and awake. Studies prove the schedule of sleeping just six hours across two weeks resulted in a state of sleep deprivation that may feel similar to being without sleep for 48 hours. Success at school requires a healthy, consistent sound sleep to control impulses and balance emotions. There is a correlation between sleep and good grades; therefore, as students consider their plan for the school year, one important aspect is maintaining a schedule for bedtime.
The Alarm Clock
Students may think of an alarm clock as just a tool to help them wake and leave the bed; however, alarms can inspire students throughout the day. If arriving late to school, for instance, consider setting multiple alarms. For example, a five-minute warning can encourage the timely arrival at breakfast. And, another signal should ensure students leave the house without reminders and on time. If a smartphone is in a student’s possession, it may serve as a useful tool in the evenings during studying sessions. Rather than looking at a clock, an alert can assist a student’s need to concentrate or take a well-needed break!
Ready, Set, Go!
Mornings often feel similar to a race of stops and starts. The anxiety children often feel in the moments before leaving the house can be altered drastically with a “ready to go” plan! Students should choose a location close to the front door, such as a bench or table, a place for the book bag already packed with homework, folders, and laptop or books. The task of looking for school papers and essential items can save both time and worry. Another critical issue is shoes. Similar to the backpack, the chore of seeking the “right” shoes can present a cyclical pattern of negative energy. Encourage children to place the day’s shoes by the front door, and check each night before bed.
Plan for Balancing Homework and Socialization
During the first weeks of school, the excitement of reuniting with old friends and meeting new faces can present an overwhelming problem. Invitations to join new clubs, organizations, and afterschool activities may entice students to scream out “Yes!” automatically! Students will quickly discover multiple extracurricular activities consume a great deal of time and will interfere in more essential responsibilities, such as completing school assignments and time with family, friends, and self. Start the year with only one afterschool obligation! Rather than disappointing friends and saying, “No!” try using a similar statement, “I want to look at all the options first before I make a decision!”
Strengths and Weaknesses
Every student has many skills in being a successful student. Do you know what yours are? It’s always good to make a list. You may include phrases such as “can decipher my notes easily,” “always reread my notes at the end of a day,” or “consistently record assignments in my planner.” Reflection upon weaknesses encourages the process of becoming a better student. Ask yourself, “What would ease my frustrations and make school simpler?” The answer may include scheduled breaks during studying sessions or creating a plan to eliminate procrastination. One key solution is to start early to tackle short- and long-term projects! Tweaking the weaknesses will set students up for a new year of success!
Get ready, students! With a plan in place, you will have, perhaps, the best year yet!