As the season of back-to-school approaches, parents should be preparing their children for the new school year. By working through various scenarios, parents can prepare their children for classroom settings as well as new social interactions. This can start with children as young as pre-school. Preparation will allow parents to work through the inevitable decisions that will arise at school while the child is still at home, thus limiting the impact of potential conflicts. Your child will then be equipped to act and react appropriately in the school setting.
First, list the behavioral expectations for your child in the classroom. Your child should:
- raise a hand to speak
- sit quietly
- listen attentively
- sit, focus, and concentrate
- take turns
- wait in line
- get along with others
- obey authority
…and much more.
Next, evaluate where your child is currently. At home:
- Does your child speak out of turn?
- Does your child have opportunities to sit and wait quietly in his day now? How does he handle these opportunities?
- How is your child’s attention span?
- Can your child focus on a task to bring it to completion?
- In social settings, does your child share?
- Is your child cooperative or does she usually insist that she has a better idea?
- How does your child get along with other children?
- Is your child obedient?
- Is he submissive to authority … starting with your parental authority?
How to begin to implement change:
Practice these behavioral expectations daily by having structure and a good routine in your child’s day. That means parents say when activities start, stop, or change. Activities like blanket time, room time, independent play time and more (as taught in www.GrowingFamilies.Life curricula.), provide a good teaching opportunity for all of the above and will move you toward positive results. Children can learn skills like sitting, focusing, and concentrating, as well as self-control through these activities. Self-control is vital and foundational because it forms the basis for knowing when and how to speak, use time wisely, and appropriately use the space we’re in. Every classroom has boundaries and blanket time is a wonderful tool for teaching boundaries. Room time gives a child the opportunity to focus and have independent thought through play. Remember, both room time and blanket time are parent-planned activities, meaning Mom or Dad decide when they start and when they stop … not the child.
Be a student of your child: You should be a student of your future student. You will learn a lot about your child by observing the child in various settings including:
- social play settings with other children (siblings and peers)
- interaction with adults
- obedience to authorities
Observing your child is an education for parents. Parents can recognize and encourage strengths in their children and, more importantly, notice weaknesses so those can be developed into strengths. If you speak life into the child by helping him ‘hear’ what he can be (virtue words), rather than repeatedly hearing his particular vice, he will progress toward positive results more rapidly.
Prepare your children for school by limiting choices and working through conflict during times of limited impact. Structured activities are limited impact activities. Your child’s teachers will thank you for your efforts.