Back-to-school time can be stressful for families of students with learning differences, but it doesn’t have to be. By setting up the right environment and getting organized before school starts, you can help your child focus and thrive. Here are some tips for getting your family on the right track.
1. Set New School Year Goals
Setting reasonable goals is the best way to set your kids up for success in school. These can revolve around completing assignments, getting ready for school on time, getting good reports on behavior at school, or even as simple as getting to bed on time. Keep a goal tracking board to review the progress and check in with your child. Remember to focus on giving praise instead of rewards when tracking progress.
2. Set Up a Perfect Study Space
Creating a perfect study space is essential for your child’s success in school. This means setting up an area with no distractions, a desk with enough room for all their school materials, and plenty of comfortable seating. Find a quiet spot where your child can study without being interrupted by siblings or pets. Organize the workspace so everything is easily accessible and nothing gets lost in piles — this includes books and other school materials as well as personal items like calendars or reminders taped onto the wall next to where they work best.
3. Be Supportive of Your Child’s Strengths and Struggles
Listen to your child’s interests and encourage them to pursue them as much as possible. Learn to attune to their strengths and struggles. Don’t be afraid to talk with your child’s teacher about the things they are interested in, and always ask for help if there are issues with school performance that might be related to a learning difference.
Remember that while teachers might not be able to cater to your child’s specific individualized needs in school, you can still find other alternatives. Enrolling your child in a specialized tutoring program can give them the personalized direction they need to thrive even in the most challenging subjects such as math, reading, and writing.
4. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
As the new school year approaches, it’s essential to schedule time for everything. When you have a child with learning differences like dyslexia and ADHD, it is helpful to create a daily routine that’s structured but flexible. Sometimes, a homework assignment gets delayed, an athletic practice runs late, or something comes up during your other activities.
Having a plan in place means that these events won’t throw off all your other scheduled activities, and it helps ensure that you stay productive and on task throughout the day.
Here are some ideas for scheduling specific activities:
- Study Time: Set aside about an hour each night after dinner for studying; if possible, make this part of your nightly routine so it becomes second nature. You can also schedule other study times throughout the day, for example, 30 minutes before school or during breakfast time.
- Playtime: Schedule a minimum of 30 minutes each day just for fun! If sports teams or clubs at school interest your child, sign up now so there’s no question about whether or not they’ll happen later when everyone is busier (plus, these kinds of experiences help build social skills).
5. Check-In With Your Child’s Progress Regularly
Often, parents focus on the overall results but assessing progress throughout the year is just as important. Scheduling conferences with teachers and staff at the child’s school can help parents understand where their child stands and if they need to intervene before it’s too late. These meetings can also open the door for better parent – teacher communication.
Being proactive will help your child with learning differences succeed in school. A school-day routine can help foster a positive learning environment. Make sure your child knows what is expected each day, such as when to wake up, leaving enough time to eat breakfast, and even picking out clothes the night before.
You may not see immediate results, but you’ll encourage your child to have healthy learning habits that can carry over throughout their education journey.