For many of us, the first day of the year is not January first, but a surprisingly balmy September day. The first day of school. No matter how many years it's been since we left those locker-lined corridors, we still have the urge to sharpen pencils, buy new shoes and get down to doing our very best once Labor Day has passed.
This is especially true for those of us who have children who attend school. In addition to buying our kids new clothes and school supplies, we vow to help them begin this fresh new year with our optimum support. We coax them back from the lingering nights of summer to a regular bedtime. We reintroduce the concept of a balanced (no more toaster pastries) breakfast. We may even go so far as to place restrictions on the television set and establish a routine homework time. But is there more that we could be doing to get our kids off to a fresh start? Absolutely.
In the same way we gave our children early learning experiences, we can continue to provide the academic supports -- structures or scaffolding if you will -- for our children to build on when learning in school.
What most of us don't realize is that learning time at home need not look like learning time at school. In fact, learning is often more meaningful when it's spontaneous and connected to actual life experiences. Instead of setting up a "teaching time" at the kitchen table each evening, you simply need to establish a few new and creative routines that can easily fit into regular, albeit full, days. By adding some simple routines, you will not only be giving your child a tremendous boost towards learning, you will be enriching your own life and the quality of time spent with your children.