When you talk to your children about what you expect from them this year in school, there is probably a lot on your mind! Here are some guidelines that can help us partner with your child.
1. Have the conversation on the individual level, child by child. You expect different things from your high schooler than from your preschooler!
2. Let them know how seriously you expect them to take school. Yes it is fun, and a place to see their friends everyday, but it is also their job and a serious task indeed! Remind them to listen, pay attention, show respect for others, and be serious about their learning.
3. Although you may expect very high grades, focus on expecting your child to do their best. Not everyone can get an A, but everyone can do well, and if they are doing their very best with mot tasks, they are likely to do well.
4. Have a good attitude about school and focus on making the best of it. In any situation, learning to make the best of it can really help to make the day go better for everyone, mom, dad, and child alike!
There are many ways to handle your own children once they have come home from school and think they are in trouble. Maybe the "clipped down" or were reprimanded, or sent to the office to speak with someone. Whatever the reason, children are often redirected at school, and sometimes parents are not sure how to handle it. One way is to engage in a "Behavior Restitution model" with your child.
1. Ask your child what they did wrong. Allow them to tell you all the details, and keep asking questions in a calm manner. Don't interrupt, because children are likely to stop giving information if they lose their train of thought, especially for the very young child.
2. Ask them what the consequences were. Ask them specifically if there was a consequence or if there will be one in the future. Ask them what they think should be the consequence, if they are not sure. You can phrase it like this "what if your neighbor did this? What would be his consequences? What happens when your friends break the rules". Especially if they do not know the consequences.
3. Ask them who was affected by their actions. Did they hurt someone else? Does someone else get into trouble?
4. Ask them why they broke the rules. Ask follow up questions and listen. This is the point when many children feel remorse and regret for having broken the rules.
5. Ask them what they will do differently next time. Allow them to know there are second chances and next time they can act more responsibly. Remind your child that you trust them to do the right thing next time.
We want your child to be successful in school, and that means going beyond the basics. Excelling in academic classes is important, but students also need to know how to learn, make good decisions, handle strong emotions, and get along with others.
This coming year, we'll continue using the Second Step Middle School Program, which focuses on skills and concepts that are designed to help students both in and out of school. These include:
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.