5 tips to help your child have a great school year

>> Monday, August 24, 2009

It's back to school time! Time for kids to catch the bus, and time for us parents to get back into a routine. Of course, it's also time for us to start worrying.

We will worry about our child's friends, our child's relationship with their teacher, our child's academic progress, and, we will worry about how we will get all that homework done.

Well, to that I have good news and bad news. Which would you like first?

How about we get the bad news over with: the truth is, when one of the above issues is just a little bit off, it can really affect our child's school year. If there are issues with friends, our child can be distracted and unhappy.

If (good forbid) our child's teacher isn't as smitten with our little darling as we are, our child could have a tricky year. If our child is not making adequate academic progress, then we are perhaps in for a multitude of meetings at a big table with school "experts".

And finally, if we, the parents, haven't got good organization and time management skills, then that homework may not get done properly or consistently.

OK, here is the good news: we can do things to put the odds in our child's favor. Below I have put together 5 tips to help your child have a great school year.

1. Your child's friends
OK. We can't be with our kids 100% of the time. But we can try and supervise whenever possible. If our child is on team sports, we can try to observe his/her interaction with teammates as much as possible. We should volunteer at school as often as possible. This will give us a lot of information about the classroom environment.

2. The Teacher
OK. I am going to be really blunt here. Don't make the teacher mad. We need to remember and our child needs to understand that the teacher is to be respected. Teachers like respect.

Second, contrary to what they say, teachers do like presents, flowers and gift cards. But, mostly, they like hand drawn pictures and handwritten notes and poems, especially from the kids.

Lastly, and I can't emphasize this enough, teachers like and need help! Offer to help the teacher yourself. Even if us working parents can only offer to cut out laminating at home, teachers really like help.

3. Academics
If there are concerns about our child's academics, we need to collect evidence, uh, I mean facts. Keep any and all work, tests, and projects that cause you concern. We don't want the teacher to think we don't think she's doing her job.

Schedule a meeting with the teacher, around his or her schedule. Be specific about your concerns and listen to the teacher's plan. Give it some time to work before asking for a support team meeting.

4. Homework
This one is really simple but sometimes not easy. Just do it. If it's a battle, talk to the teacher about reducing the amount, having your child come in early, or just letting natural consequences happen.

5. School Phobia/Anxiety
If this is happening, we need to meet with the teacher and principal as early as possible. Problem solve this issue as a team and come up with a plan. Make sure you are all in agreement or your child will sense discontent.

There you have it. Five tips to help you help your child achieve success in school. I'd love to add to this list. Please comment below and I'll add your tips!