Whew! 2017 was a doozy!
Whether your child is in kindergarten or getting ready to head off to college, you’ve probably been through a lot of changes. There have been amazing moment and some very low points, too.
2018 is right around the corner. And school is not going to be slowing down!
Prep now to make 2018 awesome!
To make your life super easy, I’ve even organized your must-do list by grade level.
Primary (K-2) and Elementary (2-5/6)
Primary and elementary school is a time of growth and should remain low-key, low-stress. Nothing from these grades will ever be seen on a college or job application. Let your child learn to love learning.
As a parent, use these early years to watch for potential trouble spots down the road. Keep a close eye on your child’s progress. Look here for tips to stay on top of how your child is doing in school. Check out this post for easy ways to help your child get back on track.
At home, you can do these things to help your child succeed this year and prep for next year:
- Read: reading, whether out loud or silently, is one of the best ways to help your child succeed. Make this a nightly ritual to help settle in for bed. Take a weekly trip to the library to restock.
- Work online: sign up for a fun and exciting online learning system. I really like Khan Academy for math and PBS Kid’s Island as well as Starfall for early reading skills. These programs can help make learning into a game!
- Play: many children fight doing homework. It’s only natural since they’ve been cooped up all day doing work. Instead of getting right to homework or sitting in front of a screen, go outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, stretching their legs in the fresh air can make the evenings a little easier.
- De-schedule: if you feel like you run all over creation, it’s probably because you are. So many children are overscheduled, running from school to soccer to scouts. They don’t have a minute of downtime. Take a good look at your schedule and see if there is any way to scale back.
- Family field trips: change up the routine and go on a family field trip. There are budget cuts and all those “extras” are feeling the pain. Add those fun experiences back in by going to museums, zoos, and nature centers on the weekend.
The stakes are starting to get bigger as your child starts the journey to life post-school. Now is the time to really double down on instilling good learning habits and working towards independence.
It’s even more important to check your child’s academic progress as a family. Perform periodic checks, with your child, on their grades and behavior marks. Work together to make a plan to fix any tough spots.
Now is a great time to start giving your child more responsibility for their own education. This is a great time to gradually release control to prepare your child for high school and beyond.
Get ready for the next step by doing these things:
- Homework: in elementary school, you might have been tracking your child’s homework nightly. Now it’s time to take a step back. Work with your child to build their responsibility by creating work and accountability systems.
- School work and grades: like homework, grades also should start to move from you to your child. Stay involved, but move from an active assistance role to a sideline coach.
- Real-world consequences: removing TV or skipping dessert could have worked as a consequence in elementary school. Middle school signals the need to move toward more adult consequences. I’m a huge fan of natural consequences. Don’t do your homework or assignments, get a poor grade. To play sports in middle school, good grades are required. Or tie electronics or other activities to academic success.
At this stage, your child will be preparing to leave the nest for the next big step. If you’ve been practicing gradually releasing control throughout middle school, your child should be working as your partner in education.
You should be working as your child’s academic advisor. They should be fully responsible for their academic work. Getting to this stage before graduation is important. Your child will be going to college or entering the adult workforce.
Do these things to help your child become even more independent:
- School battles: it’s time to take a backseat role. You might have been the first one to send an email or schedule a meeting. In high school, your child should be the person handling academic concerns, as much as possible. Definitely help guide your child and provide support, but stop actively fighting those battles.
- College prep: work with your child to plan out the next steps. Start looking at colleges, figuring out how to apply, and getting ready for the admissions process. Set up a big calendar or use a planner.
- Workforce: if your child is going right into a job post-graduation, now is a good time to start planning for that as well. Start mapping out the best options based on your child’s interests and skills. Enroll in a vocational program or check out the process for your child to enter their chosen profession.
- Budgeting and life skills: as your child moves towards adulthood, they need to start learning those essential skills. Help your child learn how to budget, do laundry, and cook basic recipes.
How do you help your child take the next step? Share your tips in the comments.