by David Ellis
Having the summer off is always hard for educators and parents. Finally a time for us to be off the day to day bustle of our great city. No commuting, sleeping in, taking time to breathe , and just relaxing. For me to come back to school is a shell shock. Back to figuring out the quickest way to commute to Harlem. Waking up much earlier than my body is used to from the summer daze. All while trying to be relaxed when I show up to school. I can only imagine how students and families feel. This struggle is real and it is shared by all of us. How do we all adjust to our bustle of the city and getting acclimated back to school. The purpose of this article is to provide helpful suggestions for families in getting their young people in the groove for the beginning of the year.
Talks with my 12-year-old son and other middle school students all shared that waking up on time is a struggle in getting to school on time. However in order to wake up on time our young people need to set an alarm and get a good night of sleep. According to research,” children three to five years old should get 10 to 13 hours of sleep, children six to twelve should get 9 to 12 hours of sleep, and teenagers need 8 to 10.” This illustrates the importance and value of sleep, that even adults do not pay attention to. Our young children need sleep and a good meal each night. Providing consistent structure with this routine helps our young people plan their time accordingly and us as the caretakers. A suggestion I have about this structure is having set meal times for breakfast and dinner.
Many times walking to school I have shaken my head when I see some students eating potato chips before school or students sharing that they did not eat at all. In the day-to-day lives of our young people, they will always have homework, an after school program, and possibly chores. As caregivers they need help providing structure of time and nutritious meals. A possible suggestion is waking our young people to have breakfast, leaving out grab-n- go snacks or breakfast at school.
Lastly, as we get back into the groove, homework is also another aspect of our young people’s bustle. Some helpful tips on getting into the group for homework:
- Review homework
- Go through each step with your child to ensure they understand what the teacher is asking.
- Reach out to your child’s teacher via email and ask for clarity. Also ask if you can meet with them during their office hours. Or ask if the teacher can conduct a workshop.
The fall can provide a challenging time for us to get in the groove, but I hope some of these suggestions can ease your journey on a day-to-day basis. For our young people it’s important to remind them about their future and what they want to be in life, for example reminding them they will not always be in the grade that they are in. Additionally, change is one of the only constant things in all of our lives. The weekends are a great time to tap into family time or child interests activities. such as play-dates, book store trips, day trips, and more. As the days and months slowly roll along, the key is being consistent and having the beautiful joy of a conversation about their day during dinner after a long day pulling it out of them instead of them just saying, ”my day was good.” Also telling them about yours as well.