Usually there are 2 school’s of thought for Summer break, the funny thing is that most parents share both of these thoughts. First, we look forward to the much needed break from our 10 month “taxi service” & the perpetual permission slips that summer provides us. However most of us also rest at night knowing there is an end to this break. There’s almost a Psychology to Summer Break. A repeated emotional & behavioral pattern that parents go through every year regarding the 9 weeks of “free time” called Summer Vacation. We spend lot’s of time planning these 9 weeks. We scrutinize our work schedule, we hoard vacation time at work & save money all year. We plan regular social activities & physical enrichment for the kids, we visit family & new destinations. Sometimes we even buy summer bridging work books to keep our kids brains on the edge. In other words, this 9 weeks of “free time” is actually a very well thought out & intentional time for many parents & their children.
So here are my questions to you. What about a new school year? Do we spend even half this time setting the new school year up for this same kind of success? Are we just as intentional with the school year as we are with our summer break? Do we rely too much on the school’s teachers and staff to do this for us during the school year? My guess is that most of us spend more time setting our children up for success during the leisurely summer than we do during a demanding new school year. So as I repetitiously challenge my parent clients in my office, I will challenge you also; be intentional about the whole school year.
1. Break it down quarter by quarter. If looking at the whole school year is too overwhelming for you to do, break it down. Meet your child where they are right now, Quarter #1. Don’t deny your child some kind of help they need based on your own issues with receiving help. Remember teachers are your child’s secondary caregivers, they know when they see something that isn’t working.
2. For goodness sake, don’t over schedule your kids. Scheduling after school enrichment is a good thing, especially if they’re working on getting better at a particular skill. However, it can be way over done. Spending the time with your kids after school doing something fun in your own home like, sharing a snack & talking about each others day, enjoying each others company outside on a walk with the dog, before homework begins will help your kids feel connected to you. The boost they get from being with you and relating with you is THE enrichment they need regularly.
3. Encourage your kids throughout the year, for stamina & for achievement. Help them to stay motivated with weekly family incentives. Go to a fun family dinner on Wednesdays, or play a game of Scrabble after dinner on Thursday to celebrate TGIF. Keep a calendar up in a central & visible location & try to find something for them & YOU to look forward to every week.
4. Remember letter grades are not that important until middle school. Not one college has ever asked for an elementary school transcript. Encourage your kids to do their personal best & to ask for help if needed. Teaching your children about their own unique style of learning, social & family relationships & making priorities are more important to your child’s future than his “A” on his Florida History project.
If you want more detail on how to break down the school year and set your whole family up for success, subscribe to my newsletter on my website to get quarterly parental support. Best of love & luck with the beginning of your child’s new school year.