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How to Fight “Back to School Blues”

  • 22nd July 2019
  • Lauren Bachelder

About a month from now, most parents endure the same whiney complaint from their K-12 students: “BUT I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL!” Even worse, if your child must complete summer reading assignments (or if you’re going the extra mile and setting your own summer learning goals), the whining has likely already begun.

Here are 5 easy tips to help motivate restless middle-schoolers and grumpy high school kiddos alike:

  1. Focus on the positive!
    Foster open communication with your child about school by allowing him or her to voice concerns and frustrations. Listen carefully, give receptive feedback, and then encourage your child to identify what he or she actually likes about school. Then focus on the subjects, sports, clubs, or friends that excite your child, and bring up these topics when your student complains! If your kiddo can’t identify anything that he or she likes about school, consider finding a new sport, club, or program that might incite some positivity!
  2. Give your child some control over her study plan, and set incentives!
    Whether you’re encouraging your child to complete extra reading or learning activities outside of school or you’re working on assigned homework, relinquish small decisions to allow your child to feel like she’s choosing to work. For example, let her pick which book to read or which assignment to complete first. For young K-12 students, motivate them to finish homework with small incentives such as a favorite snack during study time, extra screen time for the day, or small “prizes” like stickers. For older students, consider setting rules such as, “No Xbox until all homework is done,” or “You don’t have to wash the dishes if your homework is done by dinner time.”
  3. Create spaces for learning at home!
    Avoid homework blues by creating fun and comfy reading/homework nooks at home, and set aside a certain time each day for your child to complete homework or daily reading. For young children, create a positive learning atmosphere by reading to them daily, talking to them about the importance of learning, and setting a good example by allocating time in your own schedule to read and learn. According to Dr. John S. Hutton at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, “Parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, [and] the quality of cognitive stimulation in the home … strongly influences achievement!” This means you’re the most important role model for your child!
  4. Cater to your child’s learning style!
    Teachers talk about “learning style” all the time, but your child’s strengths should impact how you help your children study at home too! In just five minutes, you can identify your child’s learning style with this quiz, and then start using the tips below!

    • For visual learners: Use visual reinforcements like flashcards, pick books with plenty of pictures for young learners, let your child read along if you read to him or her, don’t hesitate to look up videos to help teach your child concepts, etc.
    • For auditory learners: Use digital books that can read aloud to your student as he or she follows along with the highlighted words, explain concepts by talking through them, read flashcards or spelling words aloud, etc.
    • For kinesthetic learners: Have your child write his or her own flashcards, encourage your student to draw pictures to help learn concepts, use demonstrations whenever possible, consider giving your student a fidget toy to use while studying, etc.
  5. Find a young tutor to act as a role model!
    For help from “super cool college students” to motivate your stubborn kiddo, find an Apollo Tutor! Our tutors are experts in their subject areas, with average GPAs of 3.7 and above! What better way to help show your child how awesome it is to work hard?
    We hope you feel like you now have a few more tools to fight “Back to School Blues!” For help with everything from general motivation and study skills to exam preparation, find an Apollo Tutor at www.apollotutors.org