a special feature from Bonnie Compton, Parent Coach & Child /Adolescent Therapist*

We bet you know a parent or two with little ones who are already thinking about “back – to- school”. With summer fast approaching the closing act, you will want to pass this along to any parent – great expert advice on managing this next season with the kids. Are they excited and ready to go? Are you ready?

Here are some tips to help them enjoy a successful school year:

Preparation is Key

-Approximately two weeks before school begins, create and implement a regular bedtime and morning routine that will help ease them back into their normal school schedule.

-Encourage your child to explore their feelings about starting school. Some children are happy to go back to school, whereas others might be more anxious, especially if starting a new school. Allow them to feel what they’re feeling. Normalize their feelings by sharing your own school related worries when you were a child. Help them develop a plan to manage or alleviate their worries while at school.

-Be proactive and create an evening routine to alleviate the morning rush! Pack lunches and pack the night before. This alone will be a huge timesaver for the next morning! Setting your alarm 15-30 minutes earlier also gives you a headstart to the day and helps set a tone of calm. Rushing out the door each morning is not a great way to start the day!

Encourage Children and Teens to Set Their Own School Goals

-Ask your child to identify several specific goals for the new year. This activity encourages them to take ownership of their own school experience.

Help your child identify strategies that will help them reach their goals (example: If their goal is to turn in daily homework assignments, they need to have a plan to do homework consistently each day and make sure it is placed in their backpack each evening.)

-Ask your child how you can be of assistance to them to help ensure they meet their goals.

Communicate with your Child’s Teacher

-Ask your child if there is anything they want their teacher to know about them and then communicate this to the teacher either in person, by note or email.

Let your child’s teacher know that you are interested in their input about your child…and be open to listening to their information.

-Communicate to the teacher that you are ready to assist your child when necessary. Also let the teacher know that you’re available to help out to ensure that your child has a successful year…the message you are sending is that you’re a team player!

-Ask about the teacher’s communication policy. Do they prefer emails or phone calls? How long should you expect to wait to hear back from them?

Encourage your Child’s Independence

-Don’t be quick to solve your child’s problems.

-Allow your child to experience the consequence of their choices (example: if they forget to do their homework or refuse to do it, allow them to experience the school’s consequence.) They will learn to make better choices the next time if they have been allowed to experience the consequence. Recent studies are now showing that young adults are experiencing anger and depression related to their parent’s overprotection. (excerpt from How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, by Julie Lythcott-Haims)

Everyday is a New Day…Children are Ever-changing

-How they are today is not how they are going to be next week, or next year.

They are continually growing and learning from their experiences.

-Celebrate their successes and honor them for their uniqueness.

Have a great school year!

bonnie_compton*Bonnie Compton, APRN, BC, CPNP
Child & Adolescent Therapist
Parent Coach
Parenting Partners, LLC
Host of Wholehearted Parenting Radio