How I remember my school days! The excitement of change and the promise of new discoveries made the beginning of a school year a positive time for me.
I also remember the awkward moments that impacted learning, such as the fine art of making friends, dealing with peer pressure and shunning all situations of embarrassment and awkwardness.
We know that the right clothes, supplies and educational preparedness help produce success in the academic arena, but preparing a child emotionally is of utmost importance, too. Children who feel confident and secure in general have a head start at becoming great students.
For those children who are more nonchalant about academics, a fun activity to be a part of through the school year can be helpful. Help children readjust to the increased structure of the school year by having them operate within their normal bedtime and wake up schedules a few days before school begins.
Children who are used to some level of structure often are better prepared for the structure of the classroom.
Michael, a father of four children, says, “I always involved my children in summer activities. I think that keeping them busy through the summer helped them adjust to school in the fall.”
Building their academic skills will help them build confidence in the classroom, so encouraging reading, writing, and academic programs in the summer months should help ease the shift.
Growing up is tough, and sometimes children take hard hits by peers for one reason or another. It’s important that parents create a safe zone for their own children throughout the year by encouraging them, showing up for important events, asking timely questions, and talking to them about things that bother them. Learning to communicate assertively, work through conflicts and to respect others are essential to success in school as well as with peers.
Building competence in a child has to do with helping them find their niche and accepting their particular personalities.
“I think one of our roles as parents is to help our kids shape what they want to do,” Michael told me. “One of my sons hated sports. He loved art and bugs and animals.
“The other son loved sports and more aggressive activities. They are just wired differently.” He responded to this by allowing his kids to move toward the activities they felt most excited about.
For those children who are struggling academically, it may be helpful to create a learning corner in a part of the house where encouraging messages can be posted, books can be read and homework is stored and organized. Creating morning and bedtime rituals help many children increase their sense of security and better manage anxiety.
One can set the tone in the morning with fun music and a positive statement to think about throughout the day. A bedtime ritual can be reading, story-telling or sharing an interesting fact about the day.
We know that the activities of childhood are preparation for adulthood. Helping children become successful today can set a wonderful platform of achievement for the future.