Whether the first day of school is ahead or behind you, here are some great ways to help your child have a good school year.
Lots of kids struggle with schoolwork, friendships, and self esteem. As a parent, you have a front row seat to your child’s school year. You may not be able to prevent whatever is challenging for your child, but you play a really important role in building them up and helping them prepare for the hard stuff.
As you begin this year, here are a few tips to help kids with various school struggles.
1. Think back to the hard parts of the last school year, and identify the strategies that helped your child through the hard times.
Your child has likely been through hard things during previous school years. Use those experiences as learning tools.
2. Brainstorm about what to do if similar situations happen this year.
I worked with a mom whose daughter had anxiety attacks when she gave a presentation in class. As the school year approached, they created a plan for “what if it happens again?” The daughter planned to talk to a favorite teacher who helped her feel calm. She didn’t have anxiety attacks that school year. She may have grown out of it, but having a plan likely helped soothe her anxiety.
3. Talk openly about grades, and remember they aren’t everything.
Another client’s child really struggled academically. I asked her what other successes her daughter had. “Nothing,” she said.
So I asked her a little bit more:
So many areas of the daughter’s life were going well! It was an eye-opener for the mom to realize grades are not the only measure in life. This perspective helped her see how great her daughter was as a person. Focusing only on grades had narrowed her perspective.
By looking at what is going well in the child’s life, parents can help keep grades in balance, and help relieve undo pressure off the child.
4. Find ways to delight in your child.
Find ways to positively acknowledge your child everyday that has NOTHING to do with PERFORMANCE!
Here are some examples...
Acknowledging your child in positive ways builds them up on the inside. One way to think of it is to work towards being the safest person in your child’s life. Build a relationship with them that helps them know that whether they are a strong student or not, they are still super awesome and important.
Donna Durham, MMFT
President & Co-Founder