Monday, September 27, 2010

School Days

The time of year has come: your kids are back in school. No matter what their age, this means the working mom has a new routine to establish. You have to creatively juggle all the responsibilities that come with getting your child prepared for the year ahead. Depending on whether your child is in pre-school, grammar school, high school or going off to college – there are a lot of dynamics involved in what kind of preparation is necessary. And for a career mom (dad’s too) this means you need to plan ahead to keep yourself and your child on track.

Mental Preparation
The first day back to school is always the best and worst… Will my son like his classes, his teachers, his classmates? Mentally I have prepared myself, but is my son prepared for the transition I have found that talking with your children about expectations for the coming year and offering encouragement and support helps ease those first day tensions, and encourages a more smooth transition.

It’s Okay for Moms to be Sentimental
My youngest son Joe is the last of my four children to venture through high school. It’s obviously not cool for Mom to walk him to school on the first day anymore, so I see him off in the morning, snap that “first day of school” photo for his memory book and wish him luck. I find myself reflecting on the sentiment; my baby is headed off to another year of high school… where did the time go?

Daily Planners and Investment
After that first day of class, the calendar seems to fill itself in. There are open houses to attend, sporting events, and extra-curricular activities. If you have more than one child in school, you might want to get a bigger daily planner. I think the most important event for any parent to attend is the Open House in order to meet you child’s teachers, talk about the curriculum and most importantly, determine what is expected of your child. Being there shows your child’s teachers that you are invested in your their education.
When it comes to other activities – try to attend as many as possible. If you have to shift meetings or other priorities, make that effort. You are your child’s biggest fan. It’s a big boost of confidence and reassurance when your child knows that you take an active interest in what they are doing.

“I Forgot It.”
What are classes without homework? Depending on your child, getting through homework can be a simple task or it can be a chore. My kids never sat at a desk to do their homework, it was always the kitchen table. You just have to find a place that works for them. I didn’t have to sit down at the table with all of my children, if they needed my help they asked for it. I would check and make sure their work was done and I was always on hand if needed. With four children, I couldn’t expect to have it easy with all of them. Joe needs just a little more motivation to get things done. And of course after getting things done, you need to make sure it gets to school. The most common excuse for not handing in homework: “I forgot it.” Kids will be kids, and as parents, we have to expect that, and do our best to guide them.

Listen and Engage.
Aside from helping with homework, there are plenty of ways to stay active in your child’s education. You can join the PTA or the Mom’s Club. You can help with fundraisers or volunteer at school functions. The best way to stay involved? LISTEN to your children. When they want to talk, they will talk and you need to be available and ready to listen. Communication is so important. I make it a point to ask Joe how his day was and ask him about his classes. When he wants to talk about it, he does. The best thing I can do is to let him know that I am always here to listen. I think that’s the best thing any parent can give; support.

2 comments:

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