Starting a new school year can be a time of great excitement and anxiety. Here are some back-to-school tips for parents from Dr. Kimberly Stone, professor at Argosy University, Hawaii.
1. Remember that going back to school is an adjustment for your child. Sleeping schedules will change. Try to have your child, especially younger ones, change to a “school sleep schedule” about a week before school begins. This will help avoid sleepiness in the classroom.
2. Plan ahead so you can be sure to go to the open house and meet your child’s teacher. Afterwards you can even follow that up with an email. Email is a great and easy method for quick communication.
3. Be aware of your comments about your child’s teacher. Sometimes children pick up on discontent from a parent and it results in disrespect from the child. Children often feel that the parent acts appropriately, so make sure you keep negative comments out of small ears.
4. Set aside a time for your child to focus on tasks. Make sure that it isn’t immediately after school. Children do need a mental break. Perhaps, after dinner, have your child look over the day’s work for at least 30 minutes. This should be done while sitting at a table-like structure and without television and music as a distraction.
5. Make sure that when you help your child with homework that you do not attempt to reteach. Often, this confuses the them with mixed information. A better approach is to have your child teach you. Make them explain what they learned for the day. Ask questions as though you are the child. If there is something they do not state clearly or cannot answer, make a note of that for the teacher. This helps narrow the misunderstandings your child is having.
6. Realize that teachers see many children in the day. You have one. Teachers went into education because they care, but that doesn’t exempt you from responsibility. If you are concerned, contact them. Don’t wait. If it is important enough for you to notice, let the teacher know.
7. Your child will act differently for you than with another adult. There are different dynamics in a classroom versus at home. Make sure to be supportive of appropriate behavior in large groups.
8. Volunteer at the school if possible. Getting the “inside” perspective often provides a greater understanding of how everything works within the classroom.
9. Keep in mind the ideas of SMART goals. Students should have a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Realistic is often the hardest. Make sure you are not attributing aspects of yourself to your child.
10. Remember that every child is unique. Each one learns differently, reacts differently, and interprets differently. Make sure to let your child know that the unique qualities they have are the fantastic aspects of them.
Dr. Kimberly Stone, EdD, received her Bachelor’s of Science in Mathematics and Education from Jacksonville State University, a Masters of Arts in Teaching Mathematics, a Educational Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Piedmont College, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Argosy University. Dr. Stone was a classroom teacher for twenty years. In that time, she served as in leadership positions in her department as on accreditation committees. Dr. Stone has taught grades 7 through college. Currently, she is the Program Manager for the Honolulu Community Action Program’s Ha Initiative: Creative STEM After-School Program. She also remains in the classroom as an adjunct faculty member at Argosy University, Hawaii. While originally from Georgia, Dr. Stone enjoys living in Hawaii with her wonderful soulmate, Troy Tacchi.
image courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net
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