By GreatSchools Staff
Do you feel like you are always rushing? Is there a lot of yelling going on at your house? Take the opportunity of a new school year to rethink your family's activities.
We asked our consulting advisors who regularly answer our Ask the Experts questions in our grade-by-grade newsletters for their thoughts on how families can start the school year off right for success at home and at school. Here's what they had to say:
Dr. Ron Taffel, a New York-based child and family therapist, and author of Parenting by Heart, Why Parents Disagree, Nurturing Good Children Now, The Second Family, and a guide for child professionals, Getting Through to Difficult Kids and Parents, offers these suggested New Year's resolutions:
Just once during the first two weeks of the new year, resolve to listen to your child's story about something that happened in school without immediately "fixing" the problem, interrupting or teaching a constructive lesson. Concentrate on listening first and then later on, when you and your child are both calmer, give advice or guidance and keep it short, very short!
Pay attention to the times of day your child is most naturally open, whether it be during after-school snack, while watching TV, at bath or bed time, and protect those times as very special. In the new year, get in the habit of talking and listening for just a few minutes a day.
Debra Collins, a California-based licensed marriage and family therapist who has worked in both primary and middle schools as a school counselor, suggests the following:
Try not to overextend.
Make an effort to limit activities for your kids, especially younger kids - one or two activities are enough, especially for parents with more than one child. Otherwise, it causes stress all around.
If you have a child with special needs, he may already be getting extra services at school, such as working with a learning specialist and/or a tutor. If you add on more than one or two extracurricular activities, you'll have overload.
Once your child hits middle school, it's harder to stay involved at his school. Your child may not want you around as much and there may be fewer opportunities to volunteer. Make a new year's resolution to get involved with your school's PTA, parent education forums, or start an independent support group with parents of your child's friends. If your school doesn't offer parent education forums, ask your principal about organizing one.
Take small steps toward giving your adolescent independence.
As children want freedom, parents tend to hold on tighter and tighter, which creates conflict. Let your child achieve small successes. For example, start out your teen driver driving short distances and gradually build up to longer trips. Or if your child wants a later curfew, give him a chance to show he is responsible by giving him a slightly later curfew. Tell him you'll extend it after he has met his current curfew for a specified period of time, and also consistently keeps you informed about where he is and who he is with.
Learn to listen to your child with your ears and not your mouth.
Make an effort to remain calm, slow down and listen to find out what your child is really asking before jumping in with an answer.
Dr. Ruth Jacoby, a Florida educator, principal, educational consultant and author, (most recently of Parent Talk!: The Art of Effective Communication With the School and Your Child) had the following suggestions:
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.