To a child, the real New Year starts with the first day of school. This fall, why not use this to your advantage and make some school year resolutions? As summer winds down, think back to the problems you faced during the last school year, and make a stab at solving them before they surface again. Here are ideas to get you started.
Problem: Difficulty transitioning back to academia.
Resolution: Set up a space for success.
Many children enjoy buying school supplies. Take it a step further this year: celebrate summer’s end by helping your children set up their own workspace. Whether they need to clear off a desk or table, purchase a lap desk, or repurpose your dining room (with your approval, of course), make a goal of setting up a comfortable, usable study area.
Don’t let is stop there – once school is underway, make sure your child gets into the habit of using, cleaning up and restocking their workspace regularly.
Problem: School lunches being picked over or tossed aside.
Resolution: Abandon your usual lunch box items and enlist your child’s help.
If last year’s lunches didn’t make the grade, take a fresh look this year. Ask your kids what lunches they like – even if its something they saw their friends eating. Finally, think outside of the box. Does your child always gobble up a bagel? Could those leftovers in your fridge get packed into a lunchbox?
Use as much of your child’s input as possible to ensure the best success. Older children may prefer to pack their own lunch, and may enjoy packing lunch for other lunchbox-toting family members.
Problem: Too many activities.
Resolution: Annually re-evaluate what’s on your plate.
If your family is always on the go, take a moment to figure out what activities they ‘love’, and what activities they simply ‘keep doing’. Children are creatures of habit. If Sarah has done dance since kindergarten, she just might assume that she’ll always do dance, even if her true passion has since shifted to soccer or girl scouts.
Make sure kids understand that activities are choices, and changes are okay. Kick off each school year by listing their activities, then asking your children to group them by favorites. If your child has difficulty giving anything up, suggest they try skipping it for just one session. They can pick it up again if they feel they miss it.
Problem: Cold feet when it comes to making new friends.
Resolution: Set up a play date quota.
If your child has difficulty warming up to her new classmates, give her a quota to fill. For example, invite one friend over each month or play with a friend at recess two days a week. Use a gentle quota that won’t overwhelm your child.
Once you’ve made some resolutions, tack them up where your family can see it. Be flexible about changing or adding to them as the year unfolds. And be sure to reward every success!
By Debbie Swanson