Is summer getting shorter, or is it just me?
June flies into August and as soon as smoke from the Fourth of July fireworks leaves our nostrils, we are back at Staples tossing binders and pencil cases into our carts. Here we are again.
Each new school year brings a host of emotions. We are hopeful that this year, our daughter will meet classmates who won’t make fun of her. Our son will do better in math. Our teenager will make the Varsity soccer team. We are hopeful, we are scared. What if this year is worse than last year? Some of us march into September holding our breath. But we don’t need to.
TIPS FOR STARTING THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
1. Be proactive, not fearful.
Decide to parent proactively, not fearfully. So many decisions we make for our kids stem from fear rather than from strength.
We manipulate schedules to get our daughter the “right” first grade teacher, scared that if she gets the “wrong” one, her year will be miserable. Who says?
We make our 16-year-old hit the gym every morning in summer so that he’ll have a leg up when he tries out for varsity soccer. We can’t see him get cut from the team again. Are you sure?
I suggest that rather than pushing and prodding our young ones into places that we feel they should be, we give them breathing room.We mustn’t be afraid for our kids: that they’ll get the wrong teacher or not make the team. Some of these are important life-defining moments!
We must teach our kids that they are tough enough to handle what life gives them.
2. Help them develop a positive attitude toward school.
If your son loves language but hates science, go to the library and get him a Spanish version of Harry Potter and ask him questions about it. Read books together and chat about them casually.
If your daughter hates sports but likes math, ask her if she would like to be in a math club or start one. Don’t make her play basketball, but ask her to go on walks or bike rides in the evenings with you. In other words, be enthusiastic about her strengths and downplay things that bore her.
When parents playfully (not competitively) invest themselves in their child’s interests, kids respond.