It is time to prepare for another academic year. For most parents, August is an exciting time. Moving up to the next grade, purchasing school materials and buying new clothes gives parents and kids butterflies of happy anticipation. However, for parents of students who are struggling, the beginning of another school year can be a daunting prospect. The thought of another year with little or no progress while other kids soar academically can be terrifying. It means a return to stress and conflict. The beginning of school for so many means a deep pit of dread deep in the stomach.
There is no reason for a student or parent to suffer due to a learning difference. So many kids are dying a slow death every day at school, and they are powerless to make it any better. And their parents are equally distraught. Homework battles, parent teacher conferences, tears of frustration ….. I stopped the beginning of school battle with my son when he was in 6th grade. I did the following three things to help ease the transition back into school for him and for me and know you can do it too:
1. Take the pressure off. In other words, don’t go overboard on enthusiasm or worry. Refrain from saying things like “This is the year you will get straight A’s”. Too much pressure makes kids shut down emotionally and sets them up to fail.
2. Meet with teachers or principals early. Let them know your concerns. Have the best, most patient teachers picked out for your child – those who understand your child and want to help. Ask to switch teachers if the initial choice does not work.
3. Plan Your Time. Take extra time off work or from other obligations the first few weeks of school so you can be there when your child gets home, discuss the day, help with homework and enjoy each other. Be prepared for frustration and acting out because your child will be exhausted and will need to let off steam. Being present and spending time together the first few weeks of school is probably the most important thing you can do to kick-off the academic year in a positive way.