By Marthe Teixeira
It’s hard to believe the summer is coming to an end, and the school year is just about to begin. It feels like minutes ago you were packing your bags for the beach and the next you are walking zombielike down the aisles of Staples looking for spiral-bound notebooks. Whether your child is going back to school with all their friends, starting a new school or that big transition from middle to high school – going back to school is always a stressful time.
Forget last year’s midnight homework scramble and all the stress that came with it. The start of a new year is a great way to renew family routines, schedules and guidelines to help your child to have a success school year. Use the following tips to start off the year right.
- Come up with a routine for the school year. Time to get that calendar out that will be hanging on the fridge all year long. This will help keep track of everyone’s schedules. Set aside time and place for homework and add it on the calendar. That way your child is in the routine knowing when it is time to buckle down and do homework.
- The joys of paperwork and how quickly it piles up. From tests that needs to be signed, permission slips, emergency cards, volunteer sign-up sheets and medical forms, it feels like your child brings home new forms to be signed daily. To be organized have an IN/OUT box for all the important paperwork that needs to be signed and or returned back to school.
- Listen without trying to fix the situation. During the first few weeks of school, your child will come home with stories and dramas of that day. An immediate reaction would be to try and “fix”it by talking to the administration at school or even the other parents. Try to concentrate on listening first, and later when emotions have calmed down, discuss the situation again and give guidance.
- Shift focus. Instead of focusing on what your child has to do, focus on what your child gets to learn. Be positive and excited about school and learning. If you stay positive, your child will stay positive.
- Make time to talk and listen. It is so important, especially for teens, to have that special talking time with their parents. This allows your child to confide in you, even if it is to rant about their awful day. If you don’t make time to talk your teen, he/she will feel as though they are not important. Get in the habit of talking and listening a few minutes each day.
- Avoid overextending. Try to limit activities for younger kids, especially with parents with more than one kid. Hectic schedules and too many afterschool activities can cause stress all around for the whole family.
Marthe Teixeira is the founder/CEO of Stixs and Stones and a life coach for teen girls. She works with local schools, colleges and organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club and Strong Women Strong Girls, and she coaches one-on one with clients. She currently has a weekly advice column to help parents of teenagers navigate the pitfalls and perils of teen life. Marthe is eager to affect positive change in the lives of teen girls, as she has personally experienced struggles and challenges as an adolescent girl.