Ready or not, the start of a new academic year is upon us! As both a parent and educator, I am excited about the limitless possibilities! The potential for social and academic growth is truly exhilarating to me! I sincerely hope my enthusiasm is contagious. As the days of summer break come to an end, I encourage you to have a thoughtful conversation as a family to set both academic and social-emotional goals.
Reflect on the last academic year. Talk about what your children did well and their opportunities for improvement, too. Perhaps, your child is exceptional at math. If that is true, speak with administrators or teachers about how to provide enrichment to keep your child interested throughout the school year. On the other hand, if opportunities for improvement exist seek ways to provide extra support. For example, talk with teachers about providing additional practice or supplemental materials to increase the chances for academic success. At any rate, set goals that are realistic. Then, celebrate each small victory throughout the year!
Lastly, do not forget to consider your child’s social and emotional well-being. While academics has traditionally been the focus of the learning environment, educators have come to recognize young children, adolescents and teenagers need support with social skills and mental health as well. With this in mind, talk to your children about their feelings. Encourage them to share their thoughts. Reassure them it is acceptable to feel sad, angry or afraid. However, make it clear there is an appropriate way to share one’s thoughts in feelings. My best advice as a parent and educator: stress that kindness is always appropriate regardless of the circumstance.
At the end of the day we want our youth to grow into productive, thoughtful citizens capable of navigating a global digital world. Don’t lose sight of the end goal. I wish you and your children an amazing year filled with possibilities, opportunity, growth, and success!
Be your child’s best advocate.