Back to School: 7 rules for starting the school year off right

As much as I hate to think of summer ending, it is time to be thinking about the new school year beginning. "Beginning" is a concept worth giving thought to. To begin is to start or start again. A new start should not be marred by old expectations.

Whether your kids are going to school for the first time or are in high school, a new school year marks a new beginning. And isn’t it always a new beginning for you as well? Of what, we don’t know, but new hopes and fears emerge at this time of year.

  • If your child is coming off a previously bad school year, you wonder and fear what this year will bring and hope it will be better.
  • If your child had a good year, your expectations are likely a little higher this year.
  • For a child just beginning, you wonder what school years will be like for this one. Will he succeed, will she have friends, will teachers like them? And always: What will my role be? How can I make this a great year for my child?

What are your hopes and fears about each of these topics? Can you share them with a trusted partner or friend and always put them aside when you talk with your child?

Be sure to send your children messages of confidence and competence. Let them know that you trust that they want what’s best for them as much as you do. Give them the opportunity to begin again fresh. We can always begin again.

And don’t sweat the small stuff. Although it may seem huge now, a failing grade, a lost homework assignment, a missing library book, a bad test score is only about right now. Resist the temptation to catastrophize and assume that your child is NEVER going to pay attention, listen to instructions, stop losing things, get organized, care about grades, etc. 

What we all want most for our children is that their school experiences are good enough for them to continue imagining, creating, and always being interested in learning new things – and having the confidence that they always can.

By , Guest blogger

1. Stay present and away from inappropriate expectations

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    Children unload off the bus at Eugene Field Elementary School in Silverton, Ore., for their first day back to school, Sept. 4, 2007.
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Do your best to focus on right now and let go of past mistakes and old experiences. Your child is different than he was even three months ago. Talk to and plan with who he is now.

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