Back to School

Written by: Tosha Johnson, SEEDS Program Supervisor at the Children’s Home Network

During the summer months, all children are at risk of losing some of the learning obtained during the school year. Summer schedules tend to be more flexible and most families focus on summer activities that do not always include educational enrichment.

Having a plan increases success.

As we head back to school, it is essential that children are ready for their daily routines and school activities. Planning ahead is essential to ensure children have the necessary time and tools to be successful during the transition from summer break. The Children’s Home Network encourages parents to attend “Open House” events in order to learn about the expectations for the upcoming school year. This provides an opportunity for their children to meet their new teacher(s), cafeteria staff, guidance counselors and others who they will learn and grow with throughout the year.

Did you know that quality sleep is important for learning and overall health?

Other ways parents and caregivers can help prepare their children for the new school year is to start adjusting bedtimes gradually so that they are ready for a structured schedule when school starts. It is also helpful for caregivers to place a curfew on electronic devices as they can stimulate the brain and keep both children and adults awake.

Children should start winding down about an hour before bedtime. Use this time for reading a book or listening to soothing music. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children’s beds should only be used for sleep, not for doing homework, playing on a smartphone,  tablet or watching TV as this can make it more challenging to fall asleep.

Reading improves academic performance.

Research indicates that reading at least 15-20 minutes daily is linked to higher academic achievement. Children who do not read regularly are likely to demonstrate lower performance in the area of reading and other core subjects. Children who read 15-20 minutes daily have demonstrated accelerated reading growth, and are likely to perform much better in school. Reading should be included in each child’s daily schedule to support positive academic performance outcomes.  This can be accomplished by doing the following:

o   Explore age-appropriate reading material that is interesting to your child. 

o   Create a space for learning in your home environment.

o   Make learning fun by incorporating it in your daily activities (i.e., creating a grocery list).

o   Make time for the entire family to read as an activity (Check out the Hillsborough County Public Library calendar for community events near you!)

The Children’s Home Network has a number of programs which provide support to children in school including the Supporting and Empowering Educational and Developmental Services (SEEDS) program. SEEDS is designed to support and empower families in their child’s educational, social, and developmental experience. Families engaged in the SEEDS program partner with school and community providers to ensure their child’s success in school. To learn more about the SEEDS program which serves families in Hillsborough County, please visit our website.

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