by Dr. Randy
Here are some suggestions for the beginning of the year and all through the next school year. If your children go to school, remember that you are the managers of your child’s education. Teachers come and go. You are the mainstay and constant. You understand best what your child needs. And you can help teachers to maximize your child’s educational experience. If you homeschool, then you already know that you are the one responsible for creating success.
The primary goal for school is to have fun. If your child thinks that school is fun and she looks forward to going in the morning, then you can feel reassured that something is right. If your child thinks that school is boring, then there is a problem. If your child says she hates school, then something is definitely wrong.
Don’t take things too seriously
I will repeat. School should be fun. Children generally like school because they get to socialize and learn stuff too. It’s exciting to learn new material. If schoolwork is difficult, then reassure your children that it will get easier over time and they can get help to understand things better.
Eat healthy meals
Most children eat breakfast at home. If they do, then you have the ability to provide them with a healthy start to the day. Try to avoid cold cereal. Children like it and it’s easy, but processed grains in the form of flakes and puffed cereal are depleted of nutritional value. And sweetened cereals are full of empty calories and lead to low blood sugar by midmorning. Offer kids hot cereal, eggs with vegetables or cheese, yogurt and fruit, and whole grain breads. Ethnic foods like Mexican huevos rancheros or Indian curry and rice often go over well, and lots of children eat these dishes every morning.
Pack a nutritious lunch with cut up fruit and veges and yogurt and sandwiches. Avoid the prepackaged fruit rolls and desserts. Make some cookies with your kids. Help them make wise decisions about a healthy lunch and get creative with sushi and granola and trail mix. And keep it fun and varied.
Children need rest. Turn off the screens an hour before bed and relax with a story. Don’t forget the bedtime rituals of a hot bath and a snack and cuddling with a good book. School-age children and teens need 8-10 hours of sleep. Sleep is more important than grades.
Don’t stress about homework
Homework arguments are a huge stressor for families. Believe it or not, no one has ever shown that homework improves learning. But most schools have a minimum homework requirement for teachers. Parents often find themselves in the position of doing their children’s homework after protracted struggles and tears. If homework doesn’t get finished, it’s not the end of the world.
Help the teacher understand your child
Teachers have a classroom full of kids. It is a hard job to get to know each one’s learning style and personality. If your child has a particular style of learning, then tell the teacher. Put yourself in the position of making her job easier. You know your child. If she needs help to stay on task, then inform the teacher of what you have learned about the best way to make that happen. You know if your child is a visual or auditory learner, if she responds well to praise, or needs hands-on tasks or frequent breaks. Share what you know about your child’s individual needs and most teachers will be grateful for the help. If you have the ability and time, volunteer in the classroom. This is a great way to observe the dynamics of the classroom, and teachers will appreciate your generosity of spirit.