I always feel a little melancholic when September comes around. It signals changes - summer turning into fall, the end of days spent at the beach, a certain loss of freedom.
September is a time for transition and transitions can be difficult. But, then again, we've been through a lot of transitions in 2020. Nothing is quite the same.
As I troll through Facebook, the lack of the first day of school pictures is glaring - I miss the captured moments -students looking fresh, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed with happy faces (mostly) holding signs that say "the first day of (insert appropriate grade)." I miss the memes of happy parents doing their happy dances, others sending their babies off with tissues in hand with a small amount of regret and a big dose of love...
There are some, to be sure. But what there is more of, what has replaced these, are parent's fears - a worry, concern for their babies: Which choice is the right choice? Will we be alright alright? What challenges will we
face? Did I do enough? Will they do well? What about friends? Teachers? And the list of "will they" and "what ifs" goes on and on.
Here's the thing: You make the choice that's best for you and your family and then trust in yourself. Have faith that it will work out.
And, put your best foot forward to ensure that your child(ren) thrive. You are giving your kid(s) lessons that will last a lifetime - the things that are not taught in school. Lessons of adaptability, resilience, confidence, and, yes, even courage.
You are the architect of your family. You set the tone, model the behavior. Our kids will be stronger for this.
What hasn't changed is the need to prepare to go into this year. Along with masks, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers, preparing your kid(s) to be and do their best is key.
Here are five "must do's" to ensure a successful year (no matter how your child "schools"): I. Have your child identify what s/he thinks is going to be the biggest challenge to overcome this year It doesn't matter if you agree or not, giving them the power to voice what they are worried about is cathartic. 2. Set goals together Then, with your child, come up with a plan. What steps need to be taken to reach their goals. Include 1 or 2 action steps or strategies to use if and when they face a challenge. Write specific steps down. These have to be steps your child feels he or she is able to implement. 3. Have a morning routine Make sure it involves breakfast. Starting the day with calm and purpose follows a student throughout. The importance of breakfast has been well documented. There are many things you can do to alleviate the morning stress - getting proper sleep, laying out clothes and lunches the night before, having a breakfast "menu", no screen time (TV, computer/tablet, phone) - but it comes down to having a routine. And a start to the day "routine" that involves skipping breakfast, adding stress, chaos, and mayhem (I'm thinking back to getting my 4 dressed and out the door on time) definitely steps on one's zen. 4. Homework Time Make it your child's responsibility. Set up a regular time and a specific space, free from distraction (tv, phone, etc). (You can even shut off "screens" until homework is done.) Once established, and the habit is built, there's an end to much of the homework battles. 5. Be Involved Your child’s teacher will be a huge part of his/her life for the next nine months. Establish a positive relationship with your child’s teacher from the start, one that respects each other's boundaries, and maintain an open dialogue. Fit school functions into your schedule. Attend back to school nights, volunteer (find out school policy) when you can.
Now, I'd like to hear from you. What does your child's schooling look like?
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