“The beginning of school last year was chaos for our family; do you have any suggestions for a better start this year?” -Parent
With the end of summer in our sights, now is the time to start thinking and planning ahead for the school year. It’s hard to let go of the summer and get back into the rhythm of school but planning ahead makes for a smooth transition for everyone. Here are some suggestions to help families start the year off right.
Get organized and think about how you want things to run for the school year. Having a calendar with events posted will help to keep everyone in the loop. Plan a family meeting so you can discuss new routines and expectations for everyone. Including kids in the discussion makes them feel they have some say in how the family works together.
Often times, parents end up doing all the work but having everyone help with responsibilities lessens the load for parents and teaches children responsibility and independence. It often helps to write and post the rules to clarify everyone’s responsibilities. Clear written expectations cut down on confusion and the arguments many parents get from kids when it’s time to have chores completed. When planning out chores and school responsibilities, take into consideration the strengths and weaknesses of each of your children and plan accordingly. For example if your child struggles to get up in the morning brainstorm ways together to make the day start off as smoothly as possible.
Another way to start the year off right is by making connections. The most important relationship you can create is with your child’s school. Your attendance at school events (like open house) shows the teacher that education is important to your family. Establishing a relationship with your child’s teacher makes the year run smoother and helps navigate situations that may arise during the school year. Let teachers know you look forward to working with them to make the school year successful for your child. Connect with the teacher and check the school’s website to know what is going on. School and family connectedness is critical to helping children succeed.
Don’t forget about the social connections too! Connections with your child’s friends and their parents help you be involved and keep an eye on their social lives. Be staying involved and connected you decrease the risk of your child getting into trouble.
If you need some help or guidance don’t forget the many community agencies that offer support to families. Check out Cortland Prevention Resources, a division of Family Counseling Services. Our programs work to strengthen family connectedness by increasing family interactions at home, school and community. For more information call us at 607-756-8970.
Mary Dykeman, Prevention Specialist
Cortland Prevention Resources and the Cortland LGBTQ Center