After a year of unusual learning circumstances, families across the world are uncertain about what to expect this fall. The transition from hybrid learning, to summer, and now back to school brings many challenges, but also affords children the opportunity to re-engage and re-energize around a love of learning.

Here are four ways that parents and caregivers can help to quell back-to-school nerves and set their children up for success at the start of this school year.

#1: Set goals.

Goal setting is an important skill that helps build confidence and inspire learning. Having a goal and tracking progress also boosts motivation, which is a building block to getting back into a routine.

Simple back-to-school goals could be mastering multiplication facts, getting work done on Fridays to have a more relaxing weekend, or aiming to participate in the school play.

Achieving an intrinsic goal will help kids feel good about themselves and what they achieved instead of worrying about what’s to come next.

#2: Create routines or rituals.

Creating routines with an emphasis on reflection and fun builds the consistency children need to tackle the hurdles that have come their way this past year and that may occur in the year to come. Routines and rituals also create safety and peace even when things do not go as planned.

A thoughtful morning routine is key to starting off the day on the right foot. Just as important is to create after-school check-ins with your children to show interest in their school work and create good habits of learning.

#3: Try new things.

New things lead to learning and the more children can learn, the more confident they’ll feel, and the more they’ll ultimately achieve at school, and in life!

Trying tasks that are new and unusual—and making mistakes in the process—builds resilience, showing kids that almost no one is great at something the first time they try it. When your child is frustrated that they can’t play a whole song on his clarinet, for example, remind them how recently it was that they couldn’t play a single note.

You might also track your kids’ endeavors on a chart or in a journal, so they can see their progress as they work towards their goals.

#4: Build and strengthen connections.

A sense of belonging to a cohort or group, especially in a school setting, impacts a child’s ability to learn, retain and apply knowledge and skills.

Positive relationships with friends and teachers are critical to school engagement and success. After the isolation of the pandemic, kids may be out of practice engaging with others and making new friends and it’s important that children create connections outside of school.

Whether it’s online or in-person, bonding around common interests is a great way for children to connect with others. With the Galileo Innovator’s Club, which keeps the fun of summer going all year long, children gain positive interactions with their peers while gaining an intentional and thoughtful approach to enrichment that piques a child’s curiosity.

The Innovator’s Club delivers the hands-on Galileo-style learning kids love on a weekly schedule for Kindergarten – 5th graders with a convenient monthly subscription. In a consistent group led by an enthusiastic instructor, kids find something new to craft, construct or invent every week—igniting their curiosity and building lasting creative confidence along the way. The Innovator’s Club makes it easy to transition back to the school year and build on the skills your child is learning in the classroom.