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When Friends Become Family
When your child or children begin school, they are entering an entirely new world. It’s a world of new freedoms, new responsibilities, and new everything, really.
As a parent, you can’t live their lives for them or solve their problems for them, but what you can do is prepare them for the new obstacles they are going to face. Start with these basics and you’ll have laid a strong foundation for success:
Establish Routine – Routine is important, especially for young people learning to cope with the new complexities of busy schedules, advanced learning, and growing into a young woman or man. Establish routines in life to help keep them focused.
Study Areas – Some children may need a specific spot devoted to homework and study in order to stay focused. It should be a spot free of distractions. No TVs, no phones, no video games, no computers (except what’s needed for school). If you lack space, the kitchen table will do just fine.
Remember Sleep – Do not neglect the importance of a good night’s sleep, and don’t allow your child to neglect it, either. For school-aged children especially, good rest is essential to keeping their minds active and ready to take in a day’s learning.
Teach Studying – The earlier your child learns that studying is more than just doing homework, the better. Encourage them to discuss their homework with you. Prompt them to ask questions. Encourage them to take notes. Improved academics will result.
Expect Success – You don’t need to pressure your child to ensure they know you expect them to succeed. Show them you have confidence in them, trust them in your day-to-day lives, and reward genuine accomplishment. They’ll soon learn that success is a fundamental part of who they are.
Remember Nutrition – Don’t underestimate the importance of nutrition. Growing children need good, balanced diets. Dietary imbalances can sap their energy, tax their mental faculties, and even contribute to behavioral issues.
Expand Socially – When you have school-aged children, their social circles are going to expand. That means your social circles will have to expand with them, even if only casually. Get to know their friends. Meet other families. Join the PTA. All will contribute to your child’s success.
Get Involved – One of the most important things you can do for a school-aged child is to be involved in their life – or perhaps more accurately, let them know that you’re interested in being active in their life. That alone can be a powerful thing.
Offer Space – In balance to the note above, school aged children also need to become comfortable with their growing freedoms. Offer them space and allow them to become more self-sufficient. At this age, becoming comfortable with independence is important. This will help them learn to succeed on their own terms.
Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are learning to cope with increased expectations and responsibilities even as they learn to deal with the surprisingly complex social dynamics of being a young person. That can be tough on even the most grounded kid.
With a little support from their loving parents, though – that’s you – they’re going to do just fine.
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