5 Proactive Methods to Spark Confidence and Ambition In Your Youngsters This College 12 months
If your family is like mine, we look forward to the coming school year, because after 15 months we will be there for you personally again. The days of virtual learning or hybrid environments are long gone, our children are returning to the classroom and “it’s the best time of the year”.
This atypical year requires a more thoughtful approach, more preparation time, and – if you’re like me – more prayers to ease family anxiety so we can draw on this amazing time to study. This is how I deal with it:
Prepare early. Before day one, start preparing for school. Now is the time to prepare for the hectic mornings that are sure to happen. About two weeks before school I usually start early bedtime – dinner and bath earlier, lights all over the house earlier – which helps everyone mentally prepare for the first day of school.
Shake out the “nervous cloves”. Most of us have spent the past 18 months either completely virtual or in a hybrid school setting. We start the school year with great anticipation; however, some of us may experience some separation anxiety. This is typical every year but may be more acute now as families have spent more time together. Start addressing and confirming these feelings in your children by speaking to them in a positive tone; acknowledge their feelings, don’t reject them, and be honest about your own. I know that I’m a little sad that I can’t “listen” to school during the school day or prepare my daughter’s lunch to go back to school and I look forward to everything she will learn this year. Perhaps work with your little one to create a visual drawing or poster of what they’re looking forward to or who they’re looking forward to when they’re back in the classroom.
The “farewell ritual”. We did that when my daughter was in Pre-K, but I decided to bring it back this year. I’m sure you remember those pre-COVID viral videos where the teacher makes a special handshake with each student? Well, when my daughter started Pre-K, we decided on a special kiss-kiss-hug-combo that gives you the confidence to go to the classroom on your own and get on with her day! It can be as simple as two hugs or saying, “Have a good day, super girl!” It’s about establishing a ritual that reinforces that they are loved, cared for, and special. It will help reduce any uncertainty and help your child – even your high school student – feel safe and confident about starting the day.
Proactive communication with your child’s teachers. At the beginning of each school year, I talk to my child’s teacher about our shared goals and our mission for a shared learning experience for my daughter. I find this discussion helpful as it lays the foundation for our collaboration during the school year. Discuss preferred communication methods and times to reach them, and ask for details about their discipline and teaching style to help resolve issues later in the school year. It also signals to your child that you are genuinely invested in their success and that you, as a parent, recognize the need to be regularly informed and connected to their progress. It will reduce their fear of going back to the classroom knowing that you are there for support.
My goal: schedules communicated by the family! At home I often use the phrase: “Predictability and schedules allow spontaneity and flexibility”. When I was a new mom, I found that predictable schedules made sure I had more time to enjoy motherhood. It also meant security for my newborn that it was born as a toddler and now as a second grader. While the schedule is never perfect, it serves as a basis for improvement and, when you discuss it as a family, your child will have a say in how they will be successful throughout the day.
Joy Altimare has been the CMO of the industry leader in health and prevention, EHE Health for over 100 years. With over 20 years of experience in marketing, Joy has grown to be a competent advisor for companies looking to address growth, innovation and technology challenges. Before entering the healthcare industry, Joy worked at brands such as L’Oreal, Verizon and Colgate-Palmolive, as well as agencies such as Ogilvy + Mather, GRAY and Publicis. Joy is the mother of her daughter Ella and lives in New York City.