As parents stop for school supplies and prepare for the daily school routine again, some can’t help but feel a lump in the throat remembering that harder work is coming and parts of last year or semester weren’t so easy. A parent can help a child get started on the right foot by preparing the heart, motivating both self and the child, setting achievable goals, making plans that work, and getting involved with your school.
Motivate Your Child By Preparing the Heart as School Starts
Find the courage to do well. See that your child overhears you speaking of good times during last year. Build a bridge from positive moments in the past to the tenuous present and boogie across. Showing respect for your child helps develop self-respect.
But reality as well as faith must be in your heart. Blind faith brings blind alleys. As parents, discuss any problem spots experienced last year or expected this year. Write down a prevention plan rather than waiting for a miracle.
Set Achievable Goals with Your Child for the New School Year
As you establish your desired goals, remember to aim for climbing hills, not mountains. Break up goals into bite-sized pieces and let tiny steps be wondrous successes. Choose short term goals and celebrate as they are accomplished. Avoiding artificial positivism, emphasize strengths while accepting weaknesses as normal.
Consider setting fairly easily achievable goals, being sure to include your child in the process. A child who has helped develop a plan will feel that important sense of ownership required to succeed.
Find out how your child learns and stand on this strength to pull up the weakness. Don’t accidentally portray that one must excel in everything by giving dollars for As, ice cream for 100s etc. How about rewarding improvement, habits, and trying?
Everyone at times has holes in his socks. Criticism rarely does any good and often harms. The 3 Rs of Relationship, Reward and Restriction will outdo criticism and punishment any day. Criticism rarely does any good and often harms all involved.
Make Workable Plans for School Year
Goals don’t cut it without specific plans. Structure your child to get the most from your investment. Have a system of sleep, food (remember protein), TLC, time discussing both frustrations and successes. It’s OK for some days to be bad. Move through these times instead of getting stuck in them. Keep in mind that it is a long road between blueprints and blue ribbons.
Organizing is necessary for maintenance of even the best laid plans. Choose a time and place for your student to work at home daily. A chat before sitting down to work can help your child by verbalizing what has been done so far and what is yet to be done. A regular time requirement removes the temptation not to study and will foster constructive habit development. Daily study is a must to achieve this.
Don’t be discouraged if you as a parent can’t work with your child as this is especially true in a child’s area of weakness. However, before giving up, try working the first few minutes on a strength area and avoid pretending like work is always fun.
Even though the results of work can be exhilarating, actual work is at times boring and maybe even a little bit painful . . . the kids know better when we try to fool them. Study period should not be over till homework is put in a certain place to avoid forgetting it in the morning, like a chair by the door used in leaving each day.
Get Involved with Your School
Don’t go to the school when strong feelings may prevail on your wisdom. Approach the school with respect and appreciation. Remember the teachers try hard and welcome your input more if you are gracious and non-criticizing. Learn what is realistic to expect the school to do for your child. Accept fair limitations of the system.
Support your school socially (take cookies), and emphasize respect for authority and learning to your child. Try to regularly foster the value of education. One of the greatest problems of today is a lack of connecting schools with the importance of learning in the minds of students, and sometimes even parents.
Parents, as consumers of education, should look upon their child’s schooling just as they do other products and services. Monitor, motivate, and maintain fair expectations as you go through the year.
It’s a investment in the greatest natural resource – children. Psych up for the long haul now. Make this year a series of successes.
It’s In the Air
To teach is in the air, not here, not way up there, where?
Not in books, not in nooks, not in bulletin boards. . .
In the mood, the total environment, feelings a part, in the air.
It’s the tying it all together – in the air!