Self Help Infos

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Ensuring School Success for Your Child

Posted by patrick

By Lori Radun

Whether you are sending your child off to preschool, middle school, high school or college, a new school year has begun. While some children love school and anticipate the first day with excitement, others groan when they think about school. For me, I looked forward to starting school, and especially loved the day I went shopping for new clothes and school supplies with my mom.

Education is an important value in our home. For my boys, I model and teach good success habits so they can be successful in school. With these ideas, your children can be well on their way to experiencing a successful school year.

Develop and Follow Morning, After School and Bedtime Routines

Morning, after school and bedtime routines provide consistency and structure for a child. They help children stay organized and instill good lifestyle habits. Post routines for your children outlining each specific step you want them to take. Be consistent and help your children practice these routines. When my older son Kai was diagnosed with ADHD in 3rd grade, routines kept him organized and contributed greatly to his success in school.

Goal Setting is Not Just for Adults - Children Can Learn Too

Once your children are old enough, give them a beginners course in setting goals for themselves. Keep it simple with children under age 12. Ask them to set one academic goal and one behavioral goal. For instance, I will work to get a B in Math this year or I will read 15 minutes every day. Good behavioral goals can focus on respecting other people, increasing confidence, or being more helpful. As your child gets older, he or she can learn to set larger goals that require more action steps, or increase the number of goals. Help your children create a colorful goals sheet or vision board as a reminder of what they are working on.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Last year was a challenging year for my younger son. Constant communication with him and regular check ins with his teacher were critical to helping him be successful in school. A child will not always readily share what is going on at school. While some may openly share the ups and downs, for others it is necessary to ask open ended questions that encourage them to talk. Children will share more easily when parents are emotionally available and can listen without judgment. Create a space during bedtime or playtime to allow your children to freely communicate with you.

Help Your Child Identify His Interests and Talents

Every child is special and different. Some children seem to be born natural athletes, while other children have natural intelligence, humor, or artistic abilities. How do you know what your child enjoys? Pay attention to what gives your child energy and what activities she naturally gravitates towards. Help your child identify what he is good at rather than always focusing on where he needs work. There is enough competition and comparisons going on in schools today. Children should be encouraged to compete with their personal best rather than comparing themselves to other children. Instead of worrying about what Johnny got on his spelling test, teach your child to try and beat his last spelling test score.

Keep Your Child's Stress to a Minimum

There are so many things that can cause stress for children today. Whether its the pressure of difficult or excessive schoolwork, bullies at school, or intense competition in extracurricular activities, stress will affect the entire family. Pay attention to what might be causing stress for your child. Eliminate the stressor or teach your children effective stress management techniques. Learning how to plan better can help minimize some homework stress. Minimizing extracurricular activities keeps a family balanced. Teaching your children how to control their mind by thinking flexible thoughts, and keeping fears and anxieties under control can go a long way towards alleviating stress. Educate your child about the importance of healthy eating, exercise and proper sleep. But most important, take care of yourself so you can model peaceful family living.

My first born is a freshman in college, and my youngest is in second grade this year. We are anticipating a successful school year, and with these tips your family can enjoy the same.

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