How can we make this year different from all the others? How can we take our hopes and wishes for positive change and turn them into a reality?
Slowly the familiar patterns start to appear. The kids are going to sleep way past bedtime, waking up with just a few moments to spare. A child leaves his notebook in school. Nights spent struggling over homework for hours, studying for tests left for the last minute, assignments forgotten, cliques and social politics – it feels as if we are going backwards instead of forward.
When feeling overwhelmed, our kids may express their emotions through becoming argumentative, fighting more often with siblings, or withdrawing into themselves. And parents can find it difficult to keep calm and not lose themselves in anger when things don’t go right.
Instead of just accepting that this is the way our home is meant to be, let us think about reachable goals that we can work on. When we create a plan, we can do away with unnecessary failures and strive to help our children feel and be more successful.
- Keep My Eyes Open
Don’t allow problems with your child to fester and grow. Open your eyes and observe if a child seems sad, withdrawn, distant, more moody than usual, or angry.
Recognise if there seems to be greater confrontation between this child and siblings, if friends stop calling or coming over, or if the child can’t seem to find his place in school.
Because before you know it, half the year can go by and what could have been a small problem has now become a ‘situation’ that requires major time and investment and causes terrible aggravation.
2. Develop a Working Relationship with Teachers
Reach out to your child’s teachers before your child reaches ‘zero hour.’ Many parents feel as if teachers are their opponents and don’t realise that we are are all here to try and help our children grow in the best way possible.
If you think that there may be an issue, it is a good idea to set up a meeting with the teacher and ask how you can work in harmony. Too many parents call teachers to demand and accuse instead of saying that we would like to solve this problem together.
Before going to the principal with a complaint, see if you can first diffuse the situation.
3. Work on Social Skills
Help your child be successful this year by preparing him not just academically, but also socially. School is not simply about getting straight A’s, it is also about learning how to get on with others and knowing how to develop friendships. A child who is happy in school is a child who can focus on studying and doing well.
How can we better teach our children social skills?
- Set rules and follow through with consequences when needed.
- Set routines for meals and bedtimes that establish stability.
- Develop your child’s ability to put himself in the shoes of others and grow more sensitive.
- Help your child learn how to express frustration, disappointment and anger without hurting others or retreating into sullenness.
- Establish basic rules of conduct: no hitting, kicking, biting, spitting, (no hands allowed), and no hurting others through our words.
- Help Children Become Independent
When children feel as if they are gaining skills and becoming self-sufficient, they grow more confident in their abilities. You will watch their self-esteem take off. Each year, every child should be able to point with pride to a newfound skill or added responsibility that comes with age.
5. Communicate with Each Child
Our children should never be afraid to speak with us. No matter how tough the topic, even if they messed up badly, they should not fear that we will hate them or want to close the door on them. Our love must be unconditional. True, there may be consequences or emotions of disappointment, but they must know that we are here for them. After all, we are their parents and if they cannot believe in our love for them, whose love can they believe in?