By Nathalie Kunin

Back to School 2021 has a completely new meaning for students and parents alike. Once again, we will be pivoting to the new normal. Since we do not know exactly what school will look like, it is natural to feel a little unsettled. However, there are some things about Back to School which never change – its time to return to the routine, even though the routine might require some flexibility.

No matter what school looks like, the main objective is to set students up for success and foster their confidence. Parents can value and celebrate their children’s strengths—not dwell on their weaknesses. They can ward off nerves and trepidation with support—not criticism. Try to anticipate success—not failure. Parental involvement and encouragement is undoubtedly the most influential factor in their child’s academic achievement.

These 5 tips will help set your student up for success, jump start their confidence and help maintain their routine:

  1. Get Organized

    Clear out the Zoom stations and make way for paper, pens and pencils. Establish your child’s workspace and make sure they have all the supplies they need at their fingertips. Organize all school materials into a clutter-free work area with plenty of elbowroom. Determine a calendar system for them to record assignments and extra-curricular activities. This can be an online calendar, paper agenda, or bulletin board or whiteboard to display weekly assignments so they can plan ahead.

  2. Play to your child’s strengths

    When setting the routine, play to your child’s natural inclinations. Some kids are “work before play” while others need some time to decompress before diving into homework. Figure out a time which works best for your child and stick to it. Building consistent routines leads to success and predictability helps to avoid the dreaded “homework battle”. Resist the urge to over-schedule your child and listen to what activities they really want to do. Don’t forget to leave some days free for playdates.

  3. Foster Independence

    Students thrive when they can find their own solutions and become their own advocate. You can help your child develop decision-making and problem-solving skills by breaking down large tasks into smaller, more manageable ones. This ensures mastery and retention and increases the chances of a successful outcome. Encourage your child to communicate directly with his or her teachers rather than passing that task on to you. You can help your child craft an email or role-play a conversation, but the contact should come from the student, not the parent.

  4. Be Patient

    In our fast-moving society, we all seem to have lost our patience. Everyone wants instant gratification. It is ok for your child to struggle a little and not have all the answers right away. Use “scaffolded assistance” which lets your child know you are there to lend a hand, but only when they need it. Have them work independently and come to you for support and guidance after they have tried on their own.

  5. Celebrate mistakes

    Remind your child that you expect effort, not perfection. When things don’t go according to plan, use those mistakes—poor grades, missed deadlines, etc.—to teach him or her that making mistakes is a valuable (and inevitable) part of the learning process.

Team Tutors offers in-person and virtual K-12 tutoring, test prep, educational therapy and Organization and Study Skills. We are here to partner with you to help each student achieve their goals and reach academic success.