How To Start Your School Year Strong | 1 Thing To Do ASAP

excited children for start of the school year

Revolutionize School Year: Debriefing


Are you feeling apprehensive about the upcoming back-to-school season? It’s common to have mixed emotions during this time. While we may be ready to return to school, we often hesitate to face the responsibilities and challenges that come with it. In this article, I’ll share the number one thing you can do to revolutionize and transform the way your school year begins. It’s not what you might expect, and you won’t find it in the typical back-to-school resources. Get ready to discover the power of debriefing and learn how it can set the stage for a successful school year.

excited children for start of the school year

The Power of Debriefing

Debriefing is the process of reflecting on an experience and examining its various aspects, including the causes, emotions, outcomes, and potential for change. It’s about taking a moment to pause and process what has happened. Without debriefing, it becomes challenging for students to learn from their experiences and make improvements. However, by incorporating debriefing into your back-to-school routine, you can empower your child and help them develop problem-solving skills and self-awareness.

Three Areas to Utilize Debriefing

Now, let’s explore three key areas where debriefing can make a significant difference in starting the school year strong.

1. Grades

Whether your child excelled academically or struggled last year, debriefing can benefit both situations. Begin by reviewing their report card from the previous year together. Ask them how they feel about their grades and why they think they achieved those results. For those who performed well, encourage them to continue using the strategies that worked. For struggling students, gently guide them to identify one reason for their challenges without blaming or pointing fingers. Then, help them bridge this understanding to the upcoming year, considering strategies and actions aligned with their goals and expectations.

2. Social Experiences

School is not just about academics; it also encompasses social interactions. Engage your child in a conversation about their social experiences from the previous year. Encourage them to reflect on their friendships, new connections made, and their overall satisfaction with their social life. Explore whether they want to maintain or modify their social activities this year, considering how it aligns with their academic goals and personal expectations. Remember, helping them strike a balance between academics and social life is crucial, and this debriefing process can guide them towards self-awareness and decision-making.

3. Extracurricular Activities and Classes

Discuss the extracurricular activities and classes your child participated in during the previous year. Ask them how they felt about each experience and whether they believe it contributed positively to their growth and self-image. This reflection allows them to acknowledge what they enjoyed and what they didn’t. Encourage them to express their desires for the upcoming year, helping them explore new opportunities or reevaluate existing ones. By understanding their preferences and aligning their choices with personal fulfillment rather than external expectations, your child gains autonomy in shaping their educational journey.


Incorporating the concept of debriefing into your back-to-school routine can transform the start of the school year for both you and your child. By engaging in reflective conversations about grades, social experiences, and extracurricular activities, you empower your child to take ownership of their learning and decision-making. Debriefing encourages self-awareness, fosters growth, and paves the way for a successful and fulfilling school year. Remember, we are nurturing whole individuals, and academics alone cannot define their journey. Embrace the power of debriefing and watch your child thrive.

So, as you prepare for the upcoming school year, remember to implement debriefing as a powerful tool to support your child’s growth and success. Share your thoughts and plans on how you’ll use the debriefing concept in the comments below. Additionally, check out my other videos linked below, where I discuss my love-hate relationship with goals, especially SMART goals for students. Finally, make sure to grab my executive functioning guide for additional support in developing essential skills for academic and personal success.