Tips to a successful school year: Everything on the Table!

By Gaby Salas

I have two kids, 14 and 16, each one with their own distinct personality and temperament. With pleasure, I share what works for both of them at home, even though each household operates differently, these tips are universal.  What we strive to accomplish is a fundamental and clear form of communication as well as to align our expectations.

We try to minimize surprises, the objectives and responsibilities of the school year are on the table from the get go. As well as the rewards and privileges that they can obtain or lose, this way there are no misunderstandings, it’s like we agreed. Remember?

We try not to make an extensive list of impossible or hard to track goals or expectations (for them and us), we establish a short list of Goals Within Reach (grades, music, sports and social life – according to each child’s preference) and we try to support them in focusing on these goals along the year. It’s a constant reminder process!

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We don’t expect ourselves or them to be perfect, it is reasonable at this age for them to have changes in humor or attitude, altered schedules and some lapses of lack of focus. What we agree upon in the beginning of the year is that when we point out that they have an “attitude” they trust us enough to accept that the problem is there. Afterwards if the problem continues they know they will lose a “privilege”. Something truly important to them: a fieldtrip, a party, a sleepover, their Snapchat, their PokemonGo, their internet connection, etc.

Regarding the organization, time management, humor and stress, it’s important not to forget that they are teenagers, there’s still some time left before they master their work ethic skills to work on these problems by themselves. The involvement of the parents is and always will be vital, always suggesting rather than imposing; being an example of discipline is a good strategy. Kids will repeat what they hear and say, nothing else!

Our job as parents throughout the school year is mostly about consistency, we can’t let our guard down, and we must be in a permanent state of revision of our goals and achievements to be able to fix anything in time… For later it could be too late!

Starting on the right foot, sending a positive message about the start of the school year – not the beginning of a battle – this will be “a great year and we will accomplish all of our goals, we are confident in you”, it is at the same time encouraging and commits them to begin with a positive attitude.

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Sourse: Edition 30 Aldea Magazine