Michelle Barnett, LPC
It’s that time again..back to school! As a parent, you may be experiencing mixed emotions. Happiness, maybe even sheer joy, anxiety or worry; they’re all very normal. You want your child to be successful and happy throughout the school year. So, what are some ways to help your family accomplish those goals? Here’s a list of 10 things you and your child can do to ensure a good start and continued success throughout the school year.
- Get organized: Include your child with thinking and planning sessions. There are many tasks to be completed before the school year begins. Buying supplies, filling out paperwork, shopping for clothes..all time consuming tasks. Involve you child in as many ways as you can. Not only will you teach your child about planning and being proactive, it may increase their excitement and helps you as well.
- Design a kid friendly homework space. The space should be quiet, free of clutter and well lit. The work surface should be large and there should be comfortable seating. Keep extra supplies at the space including paper, pens, pencils, scissors, glue etc.
- Return to the routine. About a week before school, have your child return to their normal evening routine and bedtime. This will help them adjust before the first day of school and they will be rested and ready for the first day.
- Speaking of schedules—if you don’t have one, now is the time to make one! A morning and evening routine helps kids know what to expect and it helps them form good habits. A schedule is also a good time management tool for both parents and kids.
- If your child is going to a new school, look at the school map together to locate the office, school nurse, and cafeteria. Call the school to see if they are having an orientation session and attend with your child.
- Talk to your child about any fears or worries they may be experiencing. Ask them what you can do to help them and assure them that you are available to talk about any concerns they may have.
- Ask your child to write down what they need to do each week to be successful. Reward and praise often for meeting those small goals.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher on a regular basis. Notify the school about any changes that may affect your child such as illness, moves, job changes, marriage, divorce or changes in visitation schedules.
- Keep your eyes and ears open. If your child’s behavior changes, including changes in appetite or sleep patterns, it may be a sign of difficulty adjusting.
- Finally, pay attention to success! PRAISE the behaviors you want to see again. A hug and a “good job” go a long way!
If your child has difficulty adjusting to the new school year behaviorally or academically, be proactive and address problems quickly. The