Summer is officially over and our kids are back in school! With about one month of school under our belts, most parents simply want to have a successful school year but what does it mean to have a successful school year and how do we get there? My goal this year is finding a balance between keeping up with homework, projects, and academic development while giving my daughter the opportunity to get involved in extracurricular activities and helping her navigate her budding social life. As a full-time entrepreneur and someone dealing with a chronic disease, it has been difficult finding that perfect balance for success but I wanted to share some things that are working for me.
#1 Set Goals WITH Your Child
Including your child in goal setting allows them to take personal responsibility for their personal success. I’m sure we have heard parents talk about how they’ve made all these plans for their children and the child does the complete opposite. I believe it’s because we don’t allow our children to develop personal autonomy over their lives and how they envision it. One of the things I did differently this school year was to have my daughter write down the things she wants to accomplish this school year. We discuss these goals often, especially when she has moments of struggle with her homework or she’s feeling discouraged about school.
One of the things that changed my entire parenting game is learning to prioritize. It is so easy to get caught up in the image we have in our heads of where we believe we should be and all the things we should be doing at different stages of our lives. It’s great to have those images as inspiration but if we truly want to conquer this season in our lives, we have to be super intentional about what’s important now. I remember wanting my daughter to be involved in dance and cheerleading but had to take a step back to focus on setting a strong academic foundation. She was struggling to keep up with the curriculum at her new school and with her speech so I instead chose to focus spending after school time with her on homework and developing reading skills. During the summer, I chose to do speech three times a week. Maybe your child may not be struggling academically but needs help emotionally or socially. Maybe they need help with behavior issues or with their health. Whatever they need help with, prioritize it now so that they reach their full potential later.
#3 Create a daily plan of action
Now that you all have set goals and chose your priorities for the school year, now is the time to create a plan of action. We do this by making a daily schedule and have blocks of time the reflect our priorities and that contribute to the goals the she set for herself. I allow her to write this on a dry erase board in her room to keep track of what needs to get done in a clear manner and so that she can hold herself accountable and be disciplined.
#4 Check in daily with your child
Every day I have a conversation with my daughter about her day, what she has observed, and what I know based on the grades and progress provided in the parent portal for her school. This is something I didn’t necessarily do in the past but have learned that it is essential to do if I want to keep her on track. Even though I am teaching her self accountability and self-discipline, it is important to do so from a place of clarity and facts. When she doesn’t live up to the goals and priorities that we sat together, we use her grades and behavior/social progress as a way to find out why. Where is she struggling, are there any patterns? Does she need discipline or support? This allows us both to stay on top of our goals.