This post was shared with me from Karan Wrolson over at Exite-ed.com and has valuable information for "Back To School" tips. Remember us when your kids' school clubs, events and fundraising activities need an item, (tee shirt, wrist band, pen/stylus...something fun) with a graphic or logo. Have a great school year! Roberta
Dreading the Fall Slump?
Parents are well aware that, after the first rush of excitement during the initial months of school, their children’s enthusiasm for school tends to crash around November. They begin to drag themselves to the breakfast table, complain about going to school, and make parents dread the rest of the school year. As I have often heard from my students, “I am always happy to be back at school in September. I have new clothes to wear, new classes to go to and I get to catch up with all my friends. But, after awhile, it gets so boring!”
Yes, parents, this is quite typical. There are a few things you can do, however, to avoid this draining phenomenon. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Make it part of your daily routine to check in with them. A simple “How was your day?” will only get a grunt or two out of them. Instead, make it a point to sit next to them and say “Tell me about your day.” This open-ended statement will result in more information. Use that information to continue your discussions in the next few days. For example, “You told me you have an important English paper coming up. Where are you at with that?” Show your genuine interest by being physically relaxed and unhooked – no phone or laptop getting part of your attention.
Then, share your day with them. Not a simple listing of activities and certainly not a litany of how awful your day was! Instead, share one experience from your day that you can describe in feeling words. For example, “I had a meeting with my boss and she gave me a big project to work on. I’m kind of nervous about it but I’m also excited because it will give me an opportunity to learn new things.” Notice in this example how you are acknowledging being nervous as well as your need to learn more. Too many parents assume they have to portray themselves as all knowing and all confident. By sharing your true feelings with your child they will be able to learn a few vital truths:
1. It is not all about them. There are important things going on in their parents’ lives as well.
2. It is not weakness to admit when one doesn’t know something. Learning never ends and it can be something to look forward to.
3. Adults feel the same kind of emotions children do – excitement, fear, sadness, anger, etc. Therefore, the parents will be able to understand the emotions their children feel.
4. Emotions, even strong ones, do not have to result in a crisis.
5. The family is a place where they can always talk about what is bothering them.
Your children will now be far more likely to share their feelings when things trouble them. You have become more human, more approachable. Don’t forget to share your happy feelings as well and celebrate them with your child. Again, they will then do the same. The family becomes a team – encouraging each other on.
2. Keep an eye on their sleeping patterns. They need adequate rest to keep up with the demands of school. The National Sleep Foundation reports that teenagers need an average of 8.5 to 9 hours of sleep every night in order to function well. It improves their ability to learn, decreases moodiness and anger, and helps them manage stress.
3. Nutrition is vital! You will note their appetite increasing around the age of 10 in girls and 12 in boys. This is due to the impending growth spurt of puberty. If you do not put some controls on this, they will tend to gravitate to junk food as a quick fill-up. Stock pile your refrigerator and cupboards with healthy snacks. Protein, carbohydrates and fats are the body’s energy sources. Calcium, Iron and Zinc seem to be the most lacking in the adolescent diet so, if necessary, provide them in vitamin supplements.
4. Don’t let your children burden themselves with over-commitment. Yes, it is of value for them to be involved in some school clubs, sports, and activities. However, too many involvements simply put unnecessary stress on them. Their health and schoolwork will suffer.
They will follow your lead in this so remember your responsibility as a role model. If you spend your days and nights rushing about trying to be all things for all people you are teaching them to do the same. Instead, teach them the value of time by using yours wisely. Probably the most important time expenditure you can spend is time with them! Time with them should be locked down in your daily calendar. Eating together at dinnertime has become a lost art and it is truly the best way to have this daily bonding. A Friday or Saturday Family Night is vital no matter what age they are. It re-confirms the family’s connection to each other. Show them the importance of having ‘me’ time as well. Seeing their parents take a few hours every week for healthy relaxation will help them develop that habit as well.
The benefits of following these 4 simple tips are this:
ü The bond with your child will deepen. You will be ready with support for them well before anything reaches the crisis point.
ü Home will be a good place to return to every day. Family members will view their home as a place where everyone listens to and helps each other.
ü Children will have the proper amount of rest to help them be attentive in school.
ü Proper nutrition will give your children energy while also avoiding obesity from a poor diet.
ü Your children will learn how to prioritize their time. They will select a reasonable amount of activities, will schedule ‘down time’, and avoid an exhausting and frantic pace during the school year.
This school year will be the best ever – for your children AND for the family!