By Diane Ako
Planning for back to school can be both exciting and overwhelming... for parents and for their children. Education expert Renee Thompson at Kiddie Academy (www.kiddieacademy.com) offers the following thought starters for resolutions parents may wish to make, along with the reason why each is important.
Parents' Back to School Resolutions:
1. I will give you a break after school if you need it before asking you to start homework.
Why: some children can jump right into homework and others are more focused after having some time to unwind. See what works best for your child.
2. I will stay in touch with your teachers throughout the year.
Why: Communication is the key to early detection of potential problems. If your child is struggling, an open line of communication with the teacher will help in resolving the issue.
3. I will ask for positive feedback from your teachers.
Why: We're all busy, including teachers, meaning that sometimes parents only hear when there is a problem. That's not really fair to your kids or to you - if you're going to endure the bad stuff, you both deserve to hear the good stuff, too.
4. I will offer guidance and assistance, but not a full solution, when you encounter a challenge.
Why: Children need to develop problem-solving skills. If their parents are constantly "fixing" things, the child will never learn to negotiate the inevitable bumps in the road.
5. I will enforce a consistent bed time, even if you fight me on it.
Why: Getting a good night's sleep will allow your child to start the school day refreshed and ready to learn.
6. I will provide a healthy, nutritious breakfast.
Why: Just like sleep, your body and your brain need fuel to function at their highest level.
7. I will stock up on school supplies so you'll have what you need.
Why: Nobody wants to run out of paper or glue when finishing a project. Stock up in the fall, when prices are low, and keep the supplies in an easy-to-access location. Consider making a Homework Bin - you can find directions here (http://www.kafamilyessentials.com/index.php/2012/08/22/homework-manageable/)
8. I will listen to your opinions on Back To School fashion choices, and do my best to accommodate your requests -- within reason.
Why: It's important to show your child that you respect and value their opinions, even if you don't agree with them. You can still have the final say; however, listening is key.
9. I will document your FIRST day of school with a photo every year. I will be discreet and take the photo at home. I will not follow you to school or ride the bus to get candid shots.
Why: One day, your child will want to look back and remember how they looked as they grew up. You can save the memories for them until they're old enough to appreciate them.
10. I will take a picture of you on your LAST day of school each year.
Why: It's amazing how much kids grow over the course of a school year. Take a photo and compare it to the first day of school picture. Sharing the photos with your child is the perfect opportunity to review the year's accomplishments.
My daughter just started first grade! As I reflect on the experience of her kindergarten year, I see that the above tips do make sense, and are things I had already done (or mostly done) without thinking to put them in a listing.
Each new school year is a chance for children to start fresh and establish new routines. The same is true for parents, who play a huge role in a child's education. As you send your children back to school this year, consider making a few resolutions of your own to make this a successful academic year. Most importantly, share the list with your child to help set expectations for both of you.