Once school is underway it’s time to get into the ‘school-life groove’. Here are a few tips which I shared with my families. They are helpful to have tucked away for when you need the ‘advantage’ point.

After school has started:

1. Asking general questions like, ‘how was your day?’, is always a tricky one as it is too big. So ask something like; what book did you read?, did you play with “entre name” today?, did you paint or draw today?, did you play on the equipment?, what was your favourite game?

GOAL: Get helpful information with the right questions.

2. At home read, read, read… but make it fun, fun, fun. Your child works very hard to understand decoding (learning to read) at school so at home reading should be full of celebration, even if it feels like an up hill battle or a little frustrating. Remember your child is carrying the load and the pressure of knowing he or she has to get this right at some point.

GOAL: Celebrate read skills at every point

3. Any homework can wait till you have connected, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company.

GOAL: Homework should never undo family relationships.

4. Stay connected with the teacher. A note on a regular basis means you don’t have to wait for the surprise at the end of term.

GOAL: Great connections often mean great outcomes – purposefully build them.

5. If your child is having trouble at school be sure to do 5 very important things:

    1. Remind your child that having troubles is hard and that you will help them be a problem-solver – your aim is to work with your child not for your child.
    2. Remember that there will be different perspectives on the same situation e.g. an adult or teacher as opposed to a child. Both are real, but both can have incredibly different information. A 5 year old’s perspective is often narrow and ego focused (all very normal) but parents often need more information to make it truly accurate and help correct any misconceptions.
    3. Before reacting, be proactive and curious about the ‘trouble’ with the teacher, this will empower your perspective.
    4. Talk about the new information with your child, helping them to see a bigger picture and become a problem-solver. Talk about their new understanding of the problem and consider what their options might be now. They may be happy to leave it and move on, or they may need continued support to work through this. They are capable to making this work – believe that at every turn.
    5. Follow up on the success not on the problem. By focusing on the success you’ll hear about the problem, but your focus will be on building on their competency and celebrating what they have already done towards finding a solution.

The most important thing to remember in all this is the love that you and your child share. It is the glue which will help both of you through this big change. So above all things keep that as priority number one and let every else fall in behind. It always does.