Tips for A Great School Year

Published Monday, September 19, 2011 5:40 PM

New notebooks, check. Backpack, check. Refusing to over schedule...a work in progress. Smart parents know the back-to-school checklist should include more than just school supplies. Create the framework for a successful school year with the following checklist.

Great Expectations: Sit down with your students and discuss your expectations for the school year. Clearly tell your kids that you expect them to be polite, conscientious students. Don't assume your child knows what type of behavior you expect, tell them directly.

Open Lines of Communication: Reach out to your children's teacher rather than waiting to hear from them. Introduce yourself via e-mail and let the teacher know the best way to get in touch during the school year. Reaching out signals that you are an involved, approachable parent who is willing to act as a partner in a student's education.

Organizing 101: Teach your children to organize their workspace and calendar for greater productivity and less stress. Organization is easy with these simple steps. 

Family, It's What's for Dinner: Students who eat with their family regularly have better health, grades and lower rates of troublesome behavior such as teen drinking and smoking. Put family dinners first as often as your schedule permits.

Say No to Over Scheduling: Put the brakes on extracurriculars or social engagements that get in the way of downtime and family time. Overextended and stressed out students and parents is becoming an epidemic: ward off the ill-effects of a schedule in overdrive by just saying no.

Read Together: Reading fosters a love of learning and improves vocabulary; it is also a wonderful way to nurture deep connection between parents and children. Often parents stop reading to their children once they can read on their own. But parents can read to willing children for years. Pick books that are challenging or that focus on a shared interest: reading it together pushes children outside of their comfort zone. Consider forming a parent/child book group with a group of friends.

Finally, smart parents model a positive attitude to school and learning. Share stories from your own education; let your children see you continue to try to learn new things, be it a sport, a recipe or a new language. Being a life-long learner is enjoyable and presents a positive role model for your children.



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