The store shelves are fully stocked with supplies. The buses have been inspected. The building has been cleaned top to bottom. Schools everywhere are ready to welcome your child back. How are you getting your child ready for his/her best school year ever? Here are eight tips to set you up for success…
1. Set a routine 1-2 weeks before school begins. This is so vitally important because it takes the human body at least this long to form a new sleep pattern. It also takes a good three weeks to form a new habit of any kind.
The principle to remember here is that you want your kids to get a jump start on school by already having their bodies in training for the schedule they will encounter once that first bell rings.
2. Teach your child to be organized. I’m sure this won’t surprise you based upon the looks of your child’s room, but kids are not naturally organized. They must be taught how to set themselves up for success.
Things you should consider teaching them are:
- Preparing for tomorrow before going to bed. (i.e. Homework is done and in their backpack; Clothes are laid out; Reviewing tomorrow’s schedule, etc.)
- How not to allocate their time wisely (i.e. Use a daily planner; recording homework assignments; Utilize a chore chart, etc.)
- How to avoid distractions (i.e. Setting up boundaries with no TV, internet, video games, etc.)
3. Know your child’s friends and their parents. Let’s face it. School is much more than just academics. It’s also the place where they see their buddies. The principle for this bit of advice is that YOU need to be in the loop on who your child hangs with.
I make no apologies for not allowing my kids to go home with each one who asks, and neither should you. The kids your son or daughter hangs with should reinforce the same core values that you are teaching your children. Additionally, the parents of those friends should also practice the same lifestyle you have aligned with if you’re planning on sending them without you to birthday parties, sleepovers, etc.
By knowing your child’s friends and their parents, you’ll be setting your son/daughter up for a drama-free, and sociably fun school year.
4. Regularly monitor your child’s progress from a distance. I work in the very same building that my kids attend. But I don’t take for granted that their teachers will come see me if there are problems.
As a parent, you should understand that your child is doing work all throughout his school day. If he/she isn’t bringing that work home nightly, or at least weekly, then you two have a communication problem. Let junior know that you expect to see all classwork and homework on a regular basis or there will be consequences.
So how will you know if your child is really bringing home everything? Thanks to technology improvements among student databases, most schools now have the capability for parents to check student performance online.
Do you remember growing up how your parents ALWAYS seemed to know what you were doing even without you telling them? Now you can have that same kind of power (insert evil laugh here)!
This is a great way to test your child’s resolve to be honest and open with you.
5. Make your child be involved in something outside of the normal school day. Notice that this is not a choice of whether or not he or she will do something outside of school. The only “choice” that your child should have some say in is which activity.
There are tons of choices no matter how old your child is. Sports teams, clubs, band, academic teams, and wait for it…..a J-O-B!
Here are the benefits of student involvement in something outside of the school day according to a study performed at Iowa State University:
- Better grades
- Character building – They learn organization, perseverance, discipline, responsibility, self-respect, self-esteem, self-confidence, pride in accomplishments, and how to do everything with a level of excellence.
- Time management skills
- Decreases the number of at-risk students from dropping out.
- Students learn how to interact with small groups of people who may not be close friends; Students also enlarge their network which is vital as they progress through life.
6. Don’t allow your child to make the excuse of being overwhelmed. Let me ask a question that has an obvious answer. Will your child ever feel overwhelmed as an adult? Of course! So why as a parent would you want to make it OK for him/her to quit when stress arises?
My dad, who has pastored for almost 20 years used to never let me have this excuse. Even during the busiest times of my college years when I was taking 22 credit hours a semester, working +30 hours a week, traveling for basketball, dating my future wife, and being involved in aspects of church ministry.
I still hear him saying this to me anytime I start to complain about feeling stressed or overwhelmed: “Son…what does the Bible say about that?”
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)
He even bought me an 8 ft. banner with this scripture that I hung in my dorm room. It’s stuck with me ever sense.
7. Accept nothing less than your child’s best. Let’s face it. Your child may not end up being valedictorian or the star ball player. But the principle you’re instilling in him or her is that of excellence.
Understand that perfection is something we strive for, but personal excellence is REQUIRED. And you can tell when your son or daughter did or did not put in the work, and give a total effort. One of your family core values should be that we don’t do anything half-way.
8. Celebrate the small wins. Life flies by so quickly, especially when you have kids. Don’t be so focused on the big picture all of the time that you forget to enjoy what you have today.
Take them out for ice cream after a win. Go to the movies to celebrate a good report card. Do something that tells your son or daughter, “I see what you did, and I’m so proud of you.”
QUESTION: Which of these eight points are you going to make a priority this year for your student? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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