9 Tips for an awesome school year

By | August 11, 2017 | Motherhood & Family

Back to school: 9 Tips for an awesome school year | The Momiverse | Article by Bonnie Harris

As much as I hate to think of summer ending, it’s time to think about the beginning of a new school year. To begin is to start or start again. A new start should not be marred by old expectations.

Whether your kids are going to school for the first time or in high school, a new school year marks a new beginning. New hopes and fears emerge at this time of year. And isn’t it always a new beginning for you as well?

If your child had a previously bad school year, you may wonder and fear what this year will bring and hope it will be better.

If your child had a good year, your expectations are likely a little higher this year.

For a child just beginning, you may have the following questions:

  • Will he succeed?
  • Will she have friends?
  • Will teachers like my child?
  • What is my role at school?
  • How can I make this a great year for my child?

Start the school year off on the right foot with these nine helpful tips:

1.   Stay present and away from inappropriate expectations.

Do your best to focus on right now and let go of past mistakes and old experiences. Your child is different than he was even three months ago. Talk with your child and make plans based on who he is now.

2.   Maintain a strong connection with your child.

Especially in the beginning of the school year, keep quiet tabs on what’s happening. A change in your child’s behavior may be a signal that something might be going on at school. Many kids don’t talk about their experiences. It all shows up in behavior.

3.   Don’t ask a lot of questions at the end of the day.

The last thing your child wants to talk about at the end of a long, hard day is how it was and what happened. She wants to chill, play, call her own shots for a while. Be patient. When she’s had her own downtime, she’ll be in a better place to tell you about her day.

4.   Make contact with your child’s teacher.

Even if you don’t have a special needs or strong-willed child, it’s always a good idea to set up a time with your child’s teacher about a month into the year. Talk about how your child responds best at home and what tends to set him off. Be sure to share any family issues that could cause disruptive behavior in the classroom.

5.   Set up a homework schedule and school-day rules and expectations with your child.

Each year is different. Establish a sit down time to talk about what time and place your child wants to choose for homework, acknowledging when you will and will not be available for help. Decide on media times and rules. Include both your child’s and your desires in the discussion. Whatever you come up with must be agreed upon by all parties involved. Create a weekly calendar and a contract, if appropriate.

6.   Keep bedtimes and routines consistent.

The younger your child, the more important the consistency of routine. Keep after school activities minimal and consistent. Start the bedtime routine early and keep the order of things the same so your child gets into the sleep mode. Make sure all media is done an hour prior to going to sleep as it stimulates the brain and can create stress. Any roughhousing or physical play should end a half hour before sleep (sometimes it helps for a child to wind up before winding down).

7.   Set goals.

Ask your child how she would like to end this next school year. What does she hopes to accomplish? What grades would she would like to have? Ask her what she would like to hear her teacher say if she overheard her teacher talking to someone about her.

8.   Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Although it may seem huge now, a failing grade, a lost homework assignment, a missing library book, a bad test score is only about right now. Resist the temptation to catastrophize and assume your child is never going to pay attention, listen to instructions, stop losing things, get organized, care about grades, etc.

9.   Send your child messages of confidence and competence.

Let them know you trust them and believe they want what’s best for themselves as much as you do. Give them the opportunity to have a fresh start.

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Bonnie Harris

Bonnie Harris, MS Ed, is the director of Connective Parenting, dedicated to guiding parents in the discovery of why both they and their children behave and respond the way they do. She is the author of When Your Kids Push Your Buttons and Confident Parents, Remarkable Kids: 8 Principles for Raising Kids You’ll Love to Live With. Bonnie teaches parent workshops and professional trainings internationally and offers private parent counseling through phone or skype. She is the mother of two grown children and lives in New Hampshire. For more information visit BonnieHarris.com.

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