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Making a Good Start to the School Year
 
August means that it will soon be time to return to school. Here are some ideas for getting the year off to a good start. Thinking ahead is important, especially if school can be challenging.
Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”
Albert Einstein
Most kids lose between 30 – 40% of what they learned in school over the summer. If your child hasn’t picked up a book over the summer then it’s not too late. Get them started with some reading at their level, get some practice math that will help them review where they were when they left.
“I go to school the youth to learn the future.
Robert Frost
Some kids don’t like school, or don’t see the purpose. Moving from 8th grade to high school can be a challenge. Did you know that kids that go to college make a million more dollars in their lifetime than kids that don’t go to college? Explain to your kids that school no matter how they feel about it benefits them in the end, and is the way to the future that they want.
“In school, I could hear the leaves rustle and go on a journey.”
Clint Eastwood
Does your child daydream, miss important instructions, forget things? You hear a lot about Attention Deficit Disorder, and It’s not an either you have it or you don’t kind of thing. ADD is a continuum, and some children have milder forms. Sorting out attention and concentration issues can be difficult. In my experience, medications aren’t needed for the majority of children with ADD.
Make sure your child is getting plenty of rest and exercise, eats some protein for breakfast (as high carbohydrate meals can make for a listless morning), and believe it or not some caffeine. Why caffeine? Stimulants help kids on the ADD continuum to concentrated better and be more calm. This is different than for children without ADD, who might be more active if given caffeine.
If your child has trouble staying organized, then involve them in the process. Let them pick out and have some say in the school supplies to help them stay organized. Remember, simpler is always better. Make a time each week for them to clean out their locker and backpack.
If they have over due assignments, ask them for their plan to get caught up. Then hold them to their plan. You will reduce the opposition from your child by involving them in the solution.
“Still today, I cannot cross the threshold of a teaching institution without physical symptoms, in my chest and my stomach, of discomfort or anxiety. And yet I have never left school.”
Jacques Derrida
School makes some children who are already prone to worry more anxious. There really is no such thing as “school phobia”. There can be many reasons for this anxiety. Changes like moving, loss of family or friends, divorce, learning disabilities, etc. Most kids can learn to manage their anxiety by learning some simple cognitive behavioral skills that help them to think more positively and reduce the negative thinking that leads to the increased anxiety.
Lastly, catch your kids doing things right. Positives give way to more positive behavior. If you find yourself becoming frustrated then take a step back. There are very few things that have to be dealt with in that exact moment.