Summer will soon be over. June turned into July, July to August and just as quickly, August will become September. Children will soon give up camp stories for homework and long summer nights for bedtimes.
As the first day of school nears, many parents are asking themselves how to make this school year a good one. Family therapist Susan Lieberman suggests ways a parent can give their child a head start before and after school arrives.
- Develop a routine within the home around bedtimes, mornings, mealtimes, chores and responsibilities. This type of structure gives kids an increased sense of security and confidence.
- Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. This helps open the lines of communication and improve the relationship between you and the school.
- Give your child practical, every-day experience (at home) with reading, writing and math.
- Encourage get-togethers with classmates and other kids to help make school more enjoyable.
- Work out a homework schedule with your child including where the homework is done and how much time is to be spent on it. Make your child responsible for their homework and make sure that there are consequences in place (by yourself and/or the teacher) should the homework not get done.
- If time permits, offer yourself as a volunteer for school events; in other words, get involved!
- Catch academic and/or social problems before they get out of hand or go too far. Deal with issues as they come up instead of waiting to see if things will improve.
- Limit television watching. As much as possible, children should spend their extra time developing skills through physical activity, arts and crafts, reading and socializing.
And most importantly…
- Be positive about school; on a regular basis talk to your child about their day at school, get excited about upcoming lessons and events and support the teacher as well as your child.
Susan Lieberman is in private practice in Toronto as a family therapist and public speaker. For more information call (416) 512-6356.