School Is Just Beginning
In schools across America we see a myriad of different kinds of kids and an even greater scope of parenting styles. The adjustment from Summer to Fall can be a tough one.
How can we convert the “back to school blues” to the “back to school bounty”?
1. Let them see it:
Our district does a good job of providing many opportunities for the youngsters to get to see what is inside the big building called school. We have opportunities to meet the teachers, administrators, and other parents and friends. They get to see where they sit, where they play, and how the general flow of the room is going to work. This is an integral step in making the drop-off for the first few days seamless and smile-filled.
2. Model confidence:
Simply put, confident parents have confident kids; worry filled parents raise worry filled kids. When parents get sucked into spending too much time trying to calm their child, the child begins to think, “Wow. If my parents are this concerned about me, and they have to talk this much about going to school, maybe there really is something to be worried about!” I like the phrase, “If any kid can handle this, it’s you sweetie!”
3. Make it short and sweet if you drop off your child:
If you drive your child to school, make it short and sweet. Let them know you are in a hurry and send the message, “You got this! You are strong.” Try hard not to look back. Kids will invariably live up to or down to the expectations.
4. Avoid the tantrum trap:
No matter the cries and wails, avoid backing down and giving in. Send your kid to school. Why? All experienced teachers say the same thing, “It’s amazing how quickly the child calms down as soon as the parent is out-of-sight!”
1. Give the gift of chores:
Kids who contribute to the family in the form of chores do better in school. Why? “Both schoolwork and chores require perseverance, delayed gratification, and attention to detail. When parents expect chores to be done without reminders and without pay, children also learn how to work independently and to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of accomplishment.” -Dr. Charles Fay, 2001.
2. Show empathy:
In a loving way, hold your child accountable for their work. It becomes difficult to not remind, nag, and lecture. But, when we set a deadline in the future, refrain from reminders, and then allow logical consequences to ensue, we stack the deck in our children’s favor for what they will experience in the real world. “Ohhh sweetie (buddy), I noticed you didn’t get the yard mowed…no worries, I took take care of it.” Child, “But I have a birthday party at the pool.” Parent, “How sad…I used all that driving energy taking care of your jobs.”
3. Limit screen time and other “entertaining” events:
I like August to be slow. I call it the gift of boredom. When kids are constantly used to fast-paced games, movies, shows and/or activities, they go into shock when they enter a traditional classroom. Soon, we hear kids complain about how “boring” the teacher is and how “lame” school has become.
4. Have fun with reading and writing:
Teachers can tell the students that spent time during the summer working on their reading and writing. Have fun with it. Take turns reading from a book. Challenge your child to read as many signs/billboards as they can during a road-trip. Write in a journal. Send hand written cards to relatives and friends. As with any skill, reading and writing (math too) acumen can get rusty when not practiced.
Here’s to a successful year filled with success and failures! Failures? Yep…let our kids make the mistakes when the costs are small. Allow empathy to guide you through the lesson and let logical consequences do the teaching.
Chris Peterson | The Parenting Professor