Health Wise: Planning Ahead for Next School Year
Our last blog discussed ways to finish the school year strong - re-sparking motivation and re-thinking incentives. We hope that you found that useful, and that your kiddos are chugging along as we enter the last full month of the school year!
As the year is ending, much of the focus is on finishing the year and having summer to reset. This light at the end of the tunnel keeps kiddos, parents, and teacher alike motivated to finish up. One thing that might be hard to find energy to focus on is planning for next year, as we might be feeling too exhausted by this year. That’s totally understandable.
However, we think it’s crucial to think now about next year, so we don’t feel like September hits us like a bus and creates a huge rush of anxiety and negative feelings. If we can set up for next year now, we will welcome next year with less fear and dread!
So, what can you do now? Here are some things to think about:
- Make sure classes are planned for next year, if appropriate. Middle and high school students can plan their schedule in advance. Double check that everything is what it needs to be in terms of preferred classes and required credits.
- If you have concerns about the type of teacher that is a good fit for your child, discuss options with the school. If there are multiple teachers with multiple teaching styles, depending upon your school district’s policy, you may be able to request a teacher with a specific teaching style.
- Review any current 504/IEPs or discuss planning a new one. We will talk more on 504/IEPs in the coming month. For now, we encourage you to consider if this year’s educational plan helped your child, or if there were issues this year that may require considering a plan for next year. It can be hard to request/edit the plans in August/September when the school is overloaded with start-of-year tasks, so getting ahead of it now might be best for everyone.
- Get some info on what next year will look like, including fun things your child may have to look forward to. It can help kiddos feel excited over summer rather than dreading another year of school.
- If possible, meet with your child’s teacher(s) and take notes on strengths and weaknesses that were observed over the year. Ask lots of questions, and engage the teacher in helping you understand as much as possible about your child’s academic experience. It has been a busy year, and you might have not had much time to engage with teachers. Now is your chance to get feedback that can help prepare for next year.
- Ask your child to tell you several positive things each day/week that happened at school, to keep them focusing on good things about school. It’s so easy for kids to hate school, and it’s important to actively re-program that mindset.
As much as our focus is on getting through this year, a few extra steps and some well-asked questions and requests can lead to a happier summer and feeling more prepared for the next school year. Preparedness is an excellent weapon against anxiety. Knowing what to expect can reduce the ominous and scary feelings often associated with the unknowns of a new school year.
And don’t forget, keep up the incentives and praise. Celebrate all your child’s successes, no matter how small, as they enter the final full month of school!