I am preparing some great questions that have come in the last few weeks, but until I hunker down and take a bite of my big posts here is my version of the Educational Top Ten for the school year:
10. Have your children prepare backpacks the night before and any other details that can become ugly in the morning hours. Getting your children to take responsibility for their own gear is an important life skill.
9. Bedtime needs to be bedtime. Set routines. Be realistic about the time children an adults need to go to bed in order to function the next day. Stick to your time frames and wake up might only be chaotic versus a massive calamity.
8. Be realistic about what can get done in the morning. Rushing to school harries your kids and turns you into a mad person. See rule #9. I see all you "mad parents" in the morning!
7. I'm feeling like I'm talking to a lot of "helicopter" folks lately. You did all that research to find the best school for your kid, let the educators do their job. Find ways to be involved without moving into the classroom and only question and fret when you really see your kid is not thriving.
6. "What did you do today?" If I used my son's answer to that question for the last 3 years his educational career could be summed up to a resounding "nothing". However all days were mostly classified as "good" according to him. Folks, you can try to ask and you can try to even be more directed such as "Who'd you sit with at lunch?" or "Who got in trouble?" At the end of the day, stop picking and accept what they give. They may just need to process the days' events and need time. If you suspect something might be deeper, contact your child's teacher.
5. Give time for your kids to chill for about 15 minutes once they come home. Encourage kids to eat a healthy snack, take deep breaths or lay down for a bit and then gear up to do homework. Once homework is done to the best of their ability, let kids do what they like. Turning the TV on or playing computer games will not ruin them, just set firm limits on how long. If board games or craft projects are to their liking, encourage it.
4.If your child does not understand the homework let them try the best they can or leave it blank. Allowing the teacher to see that your child is struggling tells them what they need to focus on with your child. Helping your child too much can create resentment and doing it for them helps no one. If you need to, have you or your child write a note stating that you or your child were confused.
3. Pick and choose your battles. We want our kids to succeed at so much but they really are taking in a lot information daily from many sources and they need time to process. If you made School Year's Eve goals begin to refer back to them to keep on track. If not, just be realistic. Children will find their way, just not always on our timeline.
2. Forgive yourself. I give crappy lunches somedays, I yell at my kids, I rush from place to place, I missed a certain notice that tells me to bring in apples to the class for a special project and show up empty handed, I miss the deadlines for the Scholastic Book orders. Tomorrow is another chance to be the parent you want to be.
1. Read to your children every evening, have your children read independently and have them read to you. Look for patterns and practice math skills in fun and real life ways. Talk about appropriate news stories and share ideas and thoughts that reflect upon our world. Foster a love of learning in your home and allow your children to teach you.