Top 5 Back to School Tips to Support your Child’s Learning

New school year – new uniforms, stationery and PE kits… but what are the most important things that parents can do to help their children get off to a successful start this academic year?

1) Sleep

During the long summer holidays kids generally have the luxury of a lie-in, and many teenagers are rarely seen before midday! But once the alarm clock for school goes off it’s essential that your child has had enough sleep for the day ahead. An increasing body of scientific evidence demonstrates the crucial role that sleep plays in memory and learning, and the negative impact of a lack of adequate sleep. Medical guidelines provide a useful check for approximately how much sleep your child needs at their age, and there is plenty of expert advice available on how to improve their sleep – even for teenagers!

2) Study Skills & Habits

Good study skills and habits are vital to academic success. Parents can provide support with skills such as planning, organisation, goal-setting, note-taking, efficient memorisation and revision – and can ask the school about how it teaches these aspects of learning. A clear homework routine can also help students with concentration and focus – studying is much more efficient when they are not switching back and forth between French verbs and Facebook…

3) Foster a Learning Mind-set

Education policy increasingly recognises that attitudes such as curiosity, self-control and perseverance can be even more important factors for success than intelligence. Parents obviously have an influential role in fostering these traits in their children. For instance whether parents attribute success or failure to innate ability or effort can have a significant impact on their children’s motivation and persistence.

4) Managing Stress

Tests, exams, competition and navigating the social environment can put many school children under stress. Helping children to manage these pressures is obviously important for their well-being and their ability to fulfil their potential. Ensuring children are able to wind-down and relax, modelling a positive attitude or helping them find techniques that can help such as ‘mindfulness’ can all contribute to supporting them through the challenges of school.

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5) Academic Support

While parents can provide the right environment and can help foster the right attitudes and habits for success, when it comes to academic support then professional expertise can be invaluable. For children who are struggling with particular subjects or even for those who need extending and challenging then 1:1 tuition provides a very different learning environment to school and can be tailored to the child’s individual needs and learning style. The start of the academic year is the best time to find a tutor – the best tutors will usually have filled their timetable by later in the year, and last-minute lessons just before exams won’t make nearly as much difference as a consistent longer-term programme of tuition.

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