With the first day of school fast approaching, we have some tips to help prepare your child socially and emotionally. Renowned parenting expert Reena B. Patel shares her expertise about the many things that parents can do to help their child get a start the school year on a positive note.
Value Effort over Perfect Grades
First, help your kids focus on progress, rather than perfection. Improvement is more important than top grades and often takes more grit to achieve. Communicate your realistic expectations to them, but also understand that mistakes and setbacks are normal. Sharing stories about your own mishaps help them feel ok about their own small failures on the way to success. Help them understand that it is okay to ask for help.
Teach Teamwork and Humility
Just like perfect grades should not be the goal, neither should winning. A competitive spirit has value in moderation. Kids also need to know how to lose gracefully and how to operate as part of a team. Help your children develop these traits by playing games with them where they will not always win.
Talk about Friendship
Making friends is a skill. Parents ought to discuss this explicitly with their children. Give them social language and explain social cues. Have your child pick five qualities they would want in a friend. Refer back to this list when social issues arise. Maybe some friends are not worth keeping.
Keep Things Balanced
Do not overburden your child with extracurricular activities. Allow for space in the schedule. Downtime and free play have a purpose. Cognitive overload can impair kids' decision-making abilities and increase stress.
Address Social Media and Bullying
Social media plays a major role in kids' lives today, and it can be responsible for a lot of social pressure and stress. Have a discussion about the T.H.I.N.K. acronym, regarding what they post online. T (is it truthful), H (is it helpful), I (is it inspiring), N (is it necessary), and K (is it kind).
Talk to your children about bullying. Let them know that you expect them to be kind, but also to speak up if they see bullying. If they do not feel safe standing up to a bully directly, they must inform an adult.
Teach Coping Skills
Lastly, discuss and practice coping skills, which will help your child handle the inevitable stress and anxiety that does arise.
PREVIOUSLY: 10 Tips For A Smooth First Day Of School