As we are in early September, and most school districts have been in session for at least a week, it’s a good time to pause and reflect.
Every year, students begin afresh in a new grade, families return to a routine anchored in a schedule created by the school(s) their children attend, friends are reunited while new friends are made, and a clean slate is delivered with the promise of good marks for academic performance.
For many, this is the reason for the new clothes, new supplies, and general feeling of newness that comes from new investments into materials and time with a purpose. For students, there will be new subjects, new lessons, new teachers, new textbooks, new methods, and new patterns. When a pattern is repeated, it becomes a routine. Routines become habits, and habits build character.
Every New School Year is a Chance to Build Something New
Good choices are made when your student(s) feel secure about who they are. The biggest control factor is you: family time and family dynamics. If you do not typically do these things, this is a good time to start making positive patterns in your life.
1. Meal Time Gatherings
If you do not already sit down together as a family for your evening meal, try to set aside as many days to do this as possible. Eating is a social act, as much as it is practical, and emotions are closely tied with it. This can help give you more quality time together, and help strengthen a sense of belonging.
2. Healthy Sleep Patterns
If you consider yourself a night owl, but the world doesn’t seem to understand why starting later is a grand idea, this is for you. While it is pretty common knowledge that the recommended time for adults is 7-9hrs, school aged children need between 9-11hrs, including those in high school. (src: Sleep Foundation) Getting enough sleep is important for cognitive performance, including memory, concentration, and alertness (not a complete list). This is a new school year. Schedule your time to set yourself up for success.
3. Outdoor Activity
When weather allows, spend some time in the great outdoors, even if only for a few minutes. If you are someone who likes to wake up early, a morning walk, jog, or run is a great way to get outside while building your immune system, improving your mood, and enhancing your cognitive function. If that doesn’t sound like you, even going for a walk before or after your family’s evening meal can yield real benefits. On the weekends, try bicycling, hiking, sports, or just going for a walk to potentially improve your well-being.
4. Find and Feed Your Passion
Mark Twain is said to have said, “Don’t let your boy’s schooling interfere with his education.” (but it was probably Grant Allen src: Quote Investigator) With so many interests, ideas, and hobbies to explore, it just makes good sense to feed your passion, and to engage in the developing expertise in that which catches your fancy. Some schools offer classes to help this along as a professional pursuit, but if your does not, don’t let schooling interfere with education. A sharp mind is a curious mind.
Nothing gives you a vested interest in your community quite like investing your time and energies to give back. Of course, this assumes you can make the time. Not only does it feel good to do good, but this is also a great resume booster for students who will be applying to attend college!
Every new beginning, just like the start of a new school year, is to make positive lasting changes. Make sure to write the new activities, orders, or plans into your schedule, and stick to it. If you do, they just may become full blown habits by midterms. Happy School year!