Although our school years started at the beginning of August, after a month in it is time for a pick me up and little reminder. ~Kelli
Setting an Example for a Successful School Year
Dr. Susan Bartell
I love the crisp notebooks and brand new, no-colors-missing boxes of colored pencils of the new school year. However, what I enjoy more than anything else is the feeling that this year is another chance for each child to start fresh—with a new teacher, additional friends and another opportunity to show herself that this will be the best year yet!
There are many ways to help your child have a successful year, but one of the most important is to consistently role model the ‘tools’ of success. You are one of your child’s most important and best teachers. Therefore, you play a critical role in helping your child have a truly successful school year.
By taking the following suggestions to heart, I’m confident you will help your entire family have a successful year—let me know next summer!
- Be on time. Teachers request timeliness, but when parents regularly run late, it reinforces that this is okay. In fact, it sends the message that another’s person’s time (the one waiting for you) isn’t as important as your own. So teach your child to be on time by living this way.
- Show effort. Of course, you tell your child to work her hardest. But, do you do so yourself? Whether you are completing a work project or cooking a meal, take pride in your own work because it is important feel good about what you have produced, and know that other people will appreciate your effort as well. Your efforts won’t go unnoticed by your child.
- Plan ahead. The school year includes the completion of long-term assignments, each of which requires careful planning. Life has many of these long term “assignments’ too. When planning vacations, work projects, home renovations or other big ventures, discuss these with your child, helping him see the importance of advance planning.
- Compromise with friends and family. Kids learn many of their social skills by observing you. Therefore, when you are flexible, compromise frequently, and reduce bickering and fighting to a minimum, your child will do the same!
- Be polite. You may be frustrated on a long line at the supermarket, or when a telephone operator is rude, but your child focuses only on your behavior. She will mimic your words and intonations in the classroom or on the playground. Thus, be aware of how you speak to people—no matter how aggravated you may feel inside!
- Listen. Paying attention is one of school’s—and life’s—most important skills. So put down your phone, turn off the TV and really listen to your kids, your partner and anyone that is talking to you. Not only is it a good way to teach your child, but it will improve the quality of your life as well.
- Organize your workspace. Kids need an orderly space to do their homework and so do parents! If you keep your space organized, your child will be more likely to keep his space tidy too.
- Be open minded and curious. Approach every situation and person with as little pre-judgment, negativity and ambivalence as you can muster. Be enthusiastic and optimistic whenever possible. Fake it if you must! These are important life skills to role model for your child.
- Read! Parents who read are more likely to raise children who read. In addition, read to younger kids. Children who read will have better reading comprehension and overall better success in school.
Dr. Susan Bartell America’s #1 family psychologist . Her latest book is The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask. You can learn more about Dr. Bartell at www.drsusanbartell.com