Just in Time for “Back to School”…Tips for Busy Parents
Once more is that time of the year when parents need all the help they can gather to help their children start the new school year off right. Here are some simple tips to support your children’s academic, emotional, and social success.
- Homework typically goes more smoothly when it is done at approximately the same time every day. Children thrive with routines because they can anticipate what’s coming – at least most of the time – which helps them feel secure.
- Use “When Then” statements to help children understand your expectations. “When your homework is finished, you may play with your friend”, or, “When you finish the questions on page 13, you may take a 20 minute snack break”.
- Most children need quiet in order to focus on homework. Help them concentrate by eliminating distractions such as electronic devices, TV, or loud music, and keep siblings engaged in their own quiet tasks.
- Provide your child with breaks when needed, especially when they are getting frustrated about not be able to do something. Ask your child to practice deep breathing to regulate himself, along with positive self-talk such as “I can do this”, or “I’ll try again.” Positively reinforce all attempts at emotional regulation.
- – Never forget that your children need to know you believe in them and that they are capable individuals…even when they are struggling.
- Validate their feelings. “I understand you’re frustrated…these are really tough problems! You’re doing a great job of trying it over and over until we get this right.”
- Show genuine interest in your child’s day beyond asking “How was your day?”, but try to avoid multiple questions that can feel like an interrogation. Instead, initiate friendly chats about things like who prefers chocolate milk over regular, what’s the best part of the new playground, or which classmates changed the most over the summer.
- Encourage them to be a good friend, to share, to take turns, to help others, and be respectful of others’ private space and boundaries. (Don’t forget that modeling is more effective than lecturing!) These social skills will be helpful to them their entire life.
Finally, do not hesitate to consult with one of our professional counselors if you or your child need our support and knowledge. We’ll be happy to assist you.
Submitted by Analia Chapero, LMFT