Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Address These 6 Key Areas to Start the School Year Right

Here comes a new School Year!  There is a lot to do and probably a mix of emotions around the changes.  Let's look at 6 key areas you and your family can address to get everyone off on a great footing.

·         Try the “Stop/Start/Continue” approach our Boy Scout troop uses at the end of campouts.
Continue: Ask each child to identify some things that went well in the last year. Have each one be specific about good habits he or she would like to continue forward.
Stop: Have your child identify things that didn’t go so well last year. Have each be specific about habits he or she no longer wants to have in the new school year.
Start: Looking at the “stop” list, brainstorm ways to put some better habits in place.  While letting your child take the lead, feel free to make a suggestion or two.

·         Help each child explore his or her motivations for doing his or her best in the school year ahead. You might explore feelings that each child wants to have AND the feelings he or she wants to avoid. You might help your child develop some goals or some “Can Do” statements that underscore where each one sees herself or himself heading. The more your children get in touch with their individual “Whys” for doing their best, the less likely you will have power struggles around their studies.

·         Hold a family meeting to update rules and expectations. Your children are all a year older and more mature. Now is the time to adjust your expectations for their expanded capabilities. Because they are more mature, they are better able to handle homework assignments and general studies. In bringing a “You Can Do This” attitude to the meeting, and in adjusting your family rules and expectations, you are showing your children that you believe in them. Remember to be consistent in enforcing the rules and championing the expectations. Consistency in these areas lessens the potential for power struggles.

**Email me the phrase “Rules and Expectations Tip Sheet” at for a powerful tip sheet on the differences between family rules and family expectations and how to adjust them for your maturing children.

·         In the first few weeks of school, try scaling back on your expectations and activities for individuals and for the family. This gives everybody a bit more time and breathing room to ease into the new school year.

·         Be there when they need you.  Be open to long conversations to help your son or daughter process any nerves or stress. Giving your child the love, empathy and space to talk things through can transform the way he or she views a situation.

And finally,
·         Strive to show them in words and action that you believe in them. Encourage your children to do their best in everything.  You are your child’s first and best champion.  Knowing you are there for and believe in him or her is the ultimate gift of love.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Let's Squeeze the Most Out of Our Summer!

August is here.  Where did the summer go? Don't panic! Most of us still have many more days before the kids return to school.

How can we carve out more enjoyment from that time? Grab a cool snack and call a family brainstorming meeting. Invite each person to share an idea or two he or she would still like to do in the days ahead . Discuss and jot down the best ideas and post them somewhere visible. As you do each one, be sure to check them off and see what else remains.

Towards the end of that meeting, you might also mention a few things you'd love to get done. The kids have probably outgrown clothes and may be ready to let go of some toys. Purging and reorganizing those items will get their rooms in better shape. Are there other projects inside the house or out in the yard you'd like to do?

Kids like to have a say in planning family fun. They appreciate having everyone listen to their ideas. Kids also like to know what family projects are coming up. Having a few days notice gives any "reluctant" helpers time to adjust to the idea of contributing.