It seems like yesterday, I was being wheeled out of the hospital doors, coddling a 7 lb 5 oz little girl. Today, I walked her into her first day of kindergarten.
My daughter woke up for the first day of kindergarten, nervous. Frightened by the thought that she wouldn’t have any friends and her new teacher wouldn’t like her. A once confident preschooler had suddenly lost her sense of self.
After a lengthy conversation, she concluded that if I hugged her and walked her to class, she was sure she would feel brave enough to get through the first day of kindergarten.
Like all parents, my first instinct was to tuck her under my arms and take her home. It can be a defeating feeling when we realize we cannot guard our children in the classroom, nor can we stand in front of their obstacles or fight their battles in the real world.
However, there are some things we can control. What we do outside of the classroom is equally important as the lessons they learn inside. Here are some tips to ensure your children have a prosperous and empowering school year:
Speak Power into their Lives
One of the most valuable contributions we make to our children’s lives comes forth in the words we speak. The fastest way to push aside your child’s fears, frustrations and doubt is to uplift them with your words.
Every day, commit to starting your child’s day with a positive affirmation or motivational quote. For the more religious parents, prayer or a scripture is a great way to encourage your child on a day-to-day.
Remember, every word you speak into your child’s spirit has the power to give them the confidence to stand before nations or the power to destroy their self-esteem in irreparable ways. So choose wisely.
Put a routine in place
If you want to ensure your child has a successful year, get a routine in place immediately. Nothing throws the day’s energy off like not being prepared.
Do not allow disorganization to be the tone for this school year. By preparing properly, you can prevent the hectic mornings filled with screaming, scrambling, missed breakfast and bad attitudes. Inversely, organize your end-of-the day routine by enforcing set study time and bed time.
Put a routine in place ASAP. The more polished your routine becomes, the less stress on you and your child.
Rest and Water
It doesn’t matter if your child is preparing for pre-K or starting their senior year of high school—no matter the age—adequate sleep and hydration are essential.
Lack of rest and water can have dramatic effects on your child’s ability to perform during the day. Fatigue and dehydration are directly linked to poor attention span, inability to focus and impaired memory.
For the sake of your child’s health and well-being, ensure they are getting proper rest and drinking plenty of water.
Get creative with homework time
By the time children get to their homework in the evening, everyone is exhausted. Parents have worked all day. Students have been in class since 8am, only to leave school and go straight to an after-school activity.
These things combined can lead to agitation as the evening winds down. So find ways to make homework time exciting, as opposed to a time that both parents and kids dread.
Be creative in helping children with homework. Incorporate music, dance or take the lesson outdoors. Do whatever it takes to ensure that you and your child enjoy this time together.
For older kids (who think they’re too cool for your assistance), invite their friends over for study sessions if that makes homework more enticing.
In those moments when frustration rises, train yourself to step away and compose yourself as opposed to yelling at your student. If in fact, your child is struggling to retain information, the hostile reaction will do more harm than good.
You and the teacher are a team
Be sure to meet your student’s teachers as soon as possible. You want to establish an alliance with your child’s instructors. This camaraderie demonstrates to your child that you and his educators are a team, both invested in her success.
When your child knows that her good behavior will be praised by both the teacher and you, they will be prompted to continue their healthy behaviors. For the students who will attempt to push boundaries, you want them to know that she can not play you and the teacher against each other. This will help to minimize undesirable behavior.
The most important thing you can do as a parent to ensure your child will have a phenomenal school year is to listen. Be present with your child when he is telling you about their day.
Be sure to engage with them when they request assistance on projects. Be attentive to their friends, their body language and their attitudes.
Above all, make sure your child feels comfortable talking to you about uncomfortable things like their grades or conflicts with other students.
The more open and trusting your relationship is, the more insight you will have about how your child is truly adjusting.