When we think of going back to school, often back-to-school supplies, clothes, and lunches are the first things on our minds. Though what about back-to-school routines and goals?
As parents, we strive to prepare our children for success by organizing their mornings and after-school routines. Everything seems to be all organized and in order for the first day of school until they are not. Your child is refusing to get changed, they are late for the bus, or are having meltdowns after school. So, where did we go wrong?
Organizing a child's routine is a part of parenting. However, as our children get older, one essential detail to embrace is our child's involvement in setting up their daily routine. We can foster this collaboration by developing a morning and after-school routine and presenting it to our children before school officially starts. Once shared, we can ask for their feedback. Sometimes minor tweaks such as eating breakfast before changing can be a game changer for your morning sanity!
Another factor to consider with the return to school is setting goals. While setting goals will look different depending on our child's age, selecting goals helps parents understand and support what their child is striving for. Understanding and supporting our child's goals not only fosters a more profound connection, it equally allows parents to work with their children's motivation rather than resorting to ultimatums, punishment or yelling matches.
Here are some tips on goal setting with your child:
1) Review their final report card from last school year with your child. Take a look at both the marks and teachers' comments.
Where did their teachers indicate they could improve?
What did their teacher encourage for the next year?
What is your child most proud of?
What does your child wish they could change?
2) By reflecting on these aspects with your child, you create a space to discuss what did or didn't work and make short-term goals for the new school year. As with any goal setting, all goals should be S.M.A.R.T!
If you are not familiar with the S.M.A.R.T acronym, it stands for:
3) Once school is in full swing, take the time to check in with your child on how they are doing with their goals. I often recommend completing a check-in with your child at the end of September to see how things are going, discuss if their goals are still reasonable and if any necessary modifications are required.
By remaining involved, supportive and open to communication, we can foster a relationship that the whole family can feel good about!
Sylvia Corzato is Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying), Parent Consultant and founder of Success in Steps with over 20 years of experience working with children and their families.
Sylvia provides parents with tailored support and strategies to help them understand the 'why' behind the behaviours along with 'what' is maintaining them. Her mission is to enable parents to be the driving force behind reaching and maintaining their family goals.