Preparing for a Drama Free School Year
The end of the summer is fast approaching and parents are having mixed emotions about their kids going back to school. Some parents are looking forward to this, whilst others are dreading the drama whitch comes with the school year. Here are a few ideas to help make the school year drama free.
1. Help your students set goals
Goal setting is one of the best things you can do with your student before the new school year starts. It helps children set the tone for the rest of the year. It gives them goals and structure to work towards. It doesn’t matter your child’s age, you can still teach them to set goals. With younger kids you can talk about them getting more stars and fewer sad faces from their teacher each week. This encourages them to pay attention and complete assignments. They are so happy when they come in with all those stars and you should congratulate them for it. Older kids can decide on the grades they want to make in their various classes. Athletes can aim to win more games this year than they did last year. Help your children make goals attainable but challenging, and reward them when they achieve their goals. Without goals, children flounder and are more likely to follow their friends rather than being focused on what they want to achieve.
2. Avoid cluttering your child’s day with activities
Parents want their children to excel and become really competitive, especially in high school. Some feel they do this by getting their kids involved in as many activities as possible. Unfortunately if you overschedule your children, they are not likely to excel in any particular thing. It is better to select a few activities your children are interested in and encourage them to work at them consistently and to excel. Talent is great but hard work and consistency trump talent. Once they decide on their activities encourage them to stick with their decision. The gift of “stickability” will serve them well in future when they learn to overcome the challenges they will invariably face in life. Having too many activities stresses children out. They don’t excel at any particular thing and sometimes you start to resent them a little because your time is spent carting children around. This makes life stressful for everyone and it really is not worth it.
3. Schedule Time for Homework
Decide when and where homework is going to be. Decide on a distraction free time and area of the house and have your child stick to it. Encourage them to put away their cell phones and tablets during homework time and help them use their time wisely and focus on what needs to be done. Avoid distracting them yourself with chores. Remember this is their scheduled time to do homework and their chores can be done later. The discipline and consistency they learn from this will guide them well in college where you can imagine there will be a million things distracting them.
4. Pay attention to your child’s behavior
It is important to pay attention to your child’s behavior during the school year, to be able to spot any stresses they may be going through. Talk to your child’s teacher or counselor if your child suddenly starts finding excuses to avoid going to school. Some of the common excuses kids come up with are “I have a headache or my stomach hurts.” Obviously there will be times when your child is genuinely ill but if your child is only ill on weekdays and never on weekends then you need to find out what is going on in school. Find out if your child is being bullied in school or they may be the bully themselves. As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people,” so find out why your child is hurting others. What feelings of inadequacy is he facing? It’s always better to deal with these situations as soon as they start, rather than waiting for more serious consequences to happen. Pay attention to who your children are hanging out with. Have they suddenly changed their friend group? Has their style of dressing changed, and not in a good way. Look for signs of drug use, like red eyes, excessive sleeping or irritability or a change in eating pattern. Is their school work suffering? Are they skipping school? Unfortunately some parents hide their head in the sand, rather than dealing with problems head on. As painful as it may be, it is always better to talk to your child and give them the help they need before things escalate and get out of hand.
As the school year starts, I wish each of your children great success and enjoyment in school. A few changes can make a significant difference in your child’s school year. Have your children set goals on what to achieve and commend and congratulate them when they achieve their goals. Help them select a few activities they enjoy and help them work at it consistently to become the best they can be. Give them a distraction free zone and time to do their homework. Pay attention and be present in your child’s life. There will most certainly be challenges during the school year but you can help make it drama free by making just a few changes. Good luck and great success for you and your child.