August 1, 2021

Ready or Not…Back to School

Ready or not…it’s back to school time! Let’s talk about the importance of preparing for success as our children head back for a new school year. As parents, we are our children’s primary teacher. We choose to partner with our schools to share in the responsibility of educating our children. So, how we develop the partnership with our children’s teachers and school personnel makes a big difference in the quality of education our children receive.

The second part of the equation, however, is our children and how we choose to prepare them for participating fully in their own education. Their attitude toward learning and cooperating with us and their teachers, as we guide and encourage them, is paramount. Arguably, this may be the most important single factor in our children’s success with learning, and specifically with their school system.

The parent-teacher partnership needs to be defined, on parent’s terms. Yes, it also needs to be reciprocally beneficial. Good partnerships are formed to complement one another. Be clear about your strengths and weaknesses and get to know the teacher(s) so you will be clear about theirs. But, remember, your children are yours―meaning your responsibility―not the teacher’s. They have a responsibility to you and your child. They work for you and your children, therefore, help them to do their very best in responding to your children’s needs. Give them all of the support they need and no more than they need.  Keep the communication channels open so that they can inform you of their needs from you―the parent. Be respectful and supportive, not intrusive. You always have some choices concerning your child’s education.

Our children learn about learning and develop an attitude about learning from us. This process begins soon after their birth. This is a good time to be reminded that the power of a parent is immense and accessible. Claim it and begin now to develop an excitement about exploring, curiosity and learning. Model this excitement to learn so they are more likely to “get on board.” Develop and incorporate family routines and traditions that, unequivocally, strengthen this value for education in your children. Teach them the value of respectful questioning, as well as the value of “teamship” and cooperation. Remember, your children’s first team is their family. This is where they learn about cooperation and team work. When they learn this fine principle in the family, it is fairly natural for them to transfer it to the school.

Ten things you can do to help make this a successful academic year:

  1. Develop healthy routines around sleep, food and exercise. These routines help us all to be at our best for learning and self-regulation.
  2. Proactively model for your kids your own excitement and positive attitude about the new school year.
  3. Several days before the start of school (or even after school starts) plan and schedule a special party or dinner to celebrate the new school year. Celebrate it like you would a birthday or New Year’s Day.
  4. If you and your children have not visited the school (or even if you are familiar with the school), plan an orientation visit to get the feel of the campus and establish a positive association for the first day. Invite a friend and their parent along for the social connection.
  5. As soon as possible, meet with the teacher(s). Establish a warm and supportive initial connection. Let them know that you and your child will take ultimate responsibility for their learning, but that you welcome the opportunity to partner with them in the process. Tell them that you value the hard work and sacrifice that it takes to become a professional educator and that you are pleased they are so willing to help your child be a successful student. Ask them what you can do to help them with their job. Let them know that your number one priority in this relationship is to help your child grow, develop and be effective in learning and socializing.
  6. Meet with the administrative staff (principle, vice principle and counselor).  Ask what you can do to help support the school. Repeat as much of number 5 as you think is helpful. Find out about extracurricular activities so you can help your child be exposed to this important part of their education. Make sure they know the easiest way to contact you when needed.
  7. Establish healthy routines for study and homework, and lay the ground rules for personal responsibility and accountability. Be available to help, support and teach. You are establishing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
  8. Eat as many of your regular meals together as you can. This is a great time to review the day and check-in with each other. This may be a natural time to learn about special needs to address. It is also an important part of building a “championship team.”
  9. Oh…did I mention anything about being hopeful, excited, positive, and fired-up about a new year to learn and grow? Make sure your children don’t miss how excited you are to be a part of their new school year. Make learning FUN!
  10. Always check-in with your children at bedtime. Establish and strengthen your bedtime routines for comforting, reassuring and encouraging. Safety and security will always facilitate learning.

Until next time―claim your power and expand your dreams! ~Dr. B

For more on Power Parenting go to: www.thepower-parent.com

 

 

image credit:jaxbeam.org

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Comments

  1. Bonnie Barnard says:

    Excellent advice for parents. I just wish all parents would do as you have suggested. Keep writing.

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