Parenting has plenty of stress in itself, but parenting school-aged children brings on a different kind of stress. Mainly speaking about children who attend school outside the home.
Let me explain.
It's the end of the second week of school for our kids. Can you guess how many times we've been called by Kate's teachers aid? At least three. How about Daniels 6th grade teacher? Once but it requires immediate attention. I'll explain in a minute.
We expected to hear from Kate's school since she's a first timer. What we didn't expect was to receive a phone call from Daniels teacher telling us he's in the office doing his work because she couldn't get him to stop messing around in class. We also found out he's behind on homework assignments and his grades are slipping. Wait, what? It's only the end of the 2nd week of school!
So, as Daniel got off the bus we agreed to give him a chance to tell us about his day...
"Hey Daniel. How was your day?"
A few minutes later: "So, anything unusual happen today?"
Eventually his dad asked, "so getting sent to the office happens all the time?"
"Oh...I was going to tell you guys.."
Dun dun dun!
To make this story short, we have a parent-teacher meeting today (Friday) to get things sorted out and to nip this behavior in the bud.
So how would you go about solving this issue?
1. Meet with the teacher.
2. Make a plan to help the child to be successful in the future.
3. Children need to learn that our actions can bring consequences. Daniel understands that school comes first. He will be pulled from the soccer team if he continues to slack in school. If there is no consequence the child learns his actions will not result in anything, therefore he will continue to misbehave.
Fast forward to after our meeting with Daniels teacher:
We talked for about half an hour. So far we are very impressed by his teacher. She wants him to succeed but he's making things difficult by playing around in class. He has plenty of time before the end of the day to make sure he has all of his homework ready to go. We explained to her that he has always been forgetful so we all need to help him a little by just simply reminding him. He has an agenda to write down all of that nights homework that he will show to me at home and I'll sign for his teacher to see. He understands that if he continues to have to work in the office he will lose his soccer privileges. We also gave his teacher permission to put him by himself while they are doing class work so he's not a distraction to others.
It was a great meeting, now we all need to do our part to ensure he succeeds. That includes Daniel too.
As parents with school aged children we need to be FOR our children, not AGAINST them. It won't help to be passive either. We need to set them up to succeed, not set them up for failure. We refuse to let them just "scrape" by with a "C" average.
One day he may thank us..or he might not. At least we can say we tried.
Here are some tips to help your child/ren to be successful in school and these things will trickle into their adult lives as well.
1. Stay involved! Know what your child is learning, so you can be there to answer questions when they arise.
2. Stay connected with teachers! They are only an email or phone call away! Don't be afraid to just ask how your kid is doing! Teachers and school staff are being trusted with your kid! It keeps them on their toes when they know parents care!
3. Ask about any special services the school offers if your son/daughter has a learning disability. If you suspect they might, please don't hesitate to ask! There are qualified individuals who are more than willing to help your child get the education they deserve.
4. Find a tutor if you can't help with homework! In case you were wondering, no, parents don't know everything! Call in some reinforcements if needed!
5. Volunteer at school! Attend events to show your support. Go on field trips with your kids! Show them you want to be involved in their education.
6. Always keep a positive attitude towards learning! If it becomes something negative, a child won't want to take part in it.
7. Monitor tv, video games and internet. One rule we have is: no games, tv or internet until all reading and homework is done! Also, on school days, all games are off by 7pm.
8. Reward them for good behavior &/or good grades. Some may think this is bribery, we like to call it an incentive. ;-)
It doesn't have to be anything extravagant. Just something to show that hard work pays off.
9. Give them some space! Let your child figure things out on his/her own. If you go to their rescue every time a problem arises, you deprive them of the opportunity to problem solve on their own. Which plays a huge part in being successful in life. At the same time, it's ok to help them after they have made an honest effort to figure it out on their own.
10. Don't go all summer long without making them read or study up on math! Yes, we are "those" parents who make our kids read during the summer and we even print out math sheets so there's not a lot of re-learning going on at the beginning of the school year.
Remember, no parent knows it all or has it all together! Just as our children are learning every day, so are we!
I hope everyone has a great weekend!