As we send our kids back to school for a new year:
We should remind them to follow the rules, not out of out of obligation, but because respect for others and an understanding of how our actions affect others is the ultimate goal.
We should remind ourselves, as parents and guardians, that a lot is asked of our kids during the school day – from behavior expectations to academic and social ones. We might see the bad end of all that pressure through frustration at home, or bad moods, or exhaustion. Let’s give them some space to breathe this year. Let’s make our homes a safe space for those feelings and behaviors, when they arise.
We should enable our kids to make safe, independent choices when possible from packing their own lunches to completing school projects on their own. If we, as parents, find joy in putting lunches together or brainstorming with our kids on their book reports or history posters, we should do those things, but give our kids the main controls.
We should remember that the family unit is still the most important obligation during the school year. If the calm of that unit is being threatened by over-scheduling or non-essential activities, we should remember that it’s our choice to pull back, or even “quit” things, to regain some serenity at home.
We should steer our kids towards action-based goals and not result-based ones. Instead of encouraging an end goal of “straight As” we should help them set smaller, actionable steps like finishing homework on time each week, or finishing large projects a few days early.
We should remind our kids that we are here to help them when they are struggling and that no one expects perfection.
We should let our kids choose their own friends, realizing that telling them to be friends with everyone is not a healthy expectation. We should teach our kids basic respect and courtesy for others, but let them know that the people they spend their time with is their own decision.
We should give ourselves a BREAK as parents. We will forget things. We will be late at some point. We will not be able to be all things to all people all the time this school year. Our kids are the first priority. How we divvy up our time from there is at our discretion.
We should remind our kids that teachers have bad days too.
We should purchase our school supplies with gratefulness for the privilege of helping facilitate learning in the classroom. If we have the means, we should donate more than is asked because the cost is a struggle for other families.
We should get to know our kids’ teachers, and classmates, and other parents in the class. We should leave our phones in the car during drop off and pickup – and if we do both in a car loop, we should set the phone down and make eye contact with the people safely shuttling our kids to our vehicles after a day of keeping them safe and sound for us. If our kids ride the bus, we should stay in communication with teachers and other parents online, through texts or through whatever on-campus activities we can manage.
We should remember that before we know it, we’ll be making plans for next summer. Our kids will be nearly a year older and so will we. We shouldn’t wish time away this school year. Let’s embrace the long days, because the years are short.
How will you approach this school year?
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Tags: Back to school