Here we are at the end of October. The holidays are just around the corner and we are into the second half of the first semester in traditional-calendar schools. How would you say your child is doing?
So far you should have been to parent-teacher conferences and established a working relationship with your children’s teachers. You may have already volunteered at the school or taken part in planning a classroom party. If you have not done these things, it is not too late. In the middle of the first semester is an ideal time to take stock and set up a plan for the rest of the school year. Here are the areas to review and ways to make the most of this school year.
How are your routines? Are you getting out of the house on time and with all the things you need? Are there any areas where you can shave off even a few seconds to make things go more smoothly? Take a look at this morning routine blog to get some ideas. How is your nighttime routine? Are your kids getting to bed on time and getting enough sleep? Have you established a homework and after-school schedule? At this point, sports should be scheduled and planned for the rest of the school year.
Many parents sit with their kids and help with homework. If this is the case, you should know where your child struggles academically. Many kids say they do not need help and therefore parents do not know the state of their skills. Sit with your child a few days a week. Go over their homework with them and answer any questions they might have. One way to break the ice in this area is to approach them after dinner, while they are doing their homework, with some ice-cream in hand. Be sure to take some mental notes so you can follow up later. Doing this over the course of a few days (or weeks) will ensure that you are seeing the correct struggles, and not just one tough assignment.
Communication with Teachers
If you have been to parent-teacher conferences, you have a good idea where your child stands regarding the year’s expectations. If you have not had the opportunity to organize a one-on-one conversation before now, call and schedule a time for you to meet and talk about your child. Bring up any concerns you have. You should see if what you experience at home matches what happens at school. Ask the teacher for a basic guideline for the rest of the school year so you can prepare mentally to help your child. If there are areas where your child is struggling, now is the time to ask for help either from the teacher or a private tutor. Many teachers offer private tutoring after school as a way to make some extra money. This is an easy way to get some personalized help for your child by the person teaching the materials daily. If you do not love your child’s teacher, ask around for a reputable tutor. It is well worth the time and money to ensure your child understands the material presented in school.
Every time a friend or acquaintance returns to high school for their reunion, I hear the same story. People haven’t changed and everyone fell into the same cliques and petty behavior. It is the same for your child. They return to the same group of kids every year. You can expect some of the same unwanted behaviors year after year as well. If you are one of the hundreds of parents looking at your child’s behavior issues and thinking, “I thought we were over this,” or “I thought they had outgrown that,” not to worry, there is still time to get that issue resolved. If your child’s behavior concerns you, talk to their teacher or the school’s psychologist, nurse, or counselor. If you can admit that you have not been the most consistent with behavior expectations at home, now is the time to get on the ball and take control. If you need help, contact a Family Behavior Coach, such as myself, in your area. It is never too late to reach out for some support.
The unfortunate truth is that after Thanksgiving break students and teachers relax academically. The end is in sight and a long two-week break sounds great. Be prepared for this letdown. Rev up your support of your children in order to finish the semester strong. This will allow all of you to transition to the spring semester with confidence and a plan in mind.