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Every Grade is the Opportunity for a Fresh Start

One of the greatest advantages that children have is the opportunity each September to begin again with a new teacher, a new set of classmates, and a new determination to make some positive changes and try some new experiences.

Unlike the often short-lived New Year’s resolutions we might make in January, plans for change made at the start of a new school year have much greater potential for success for a number of reasons. First, children and teens often experience a surge in growth both physically and socially over the summer. You can help encourage them to initiate changes by praising them on how much they’ve matured.

The beginning of the school year is a time that your children will receive many notices and information about school activities, community programs, auditions for musical groups, try-outs for sports groups, and more. Help your child keep track of all the programs that may be of interest. Now is the time to reevaluate whether to continue with former programs or try something new.

Extra-curricular activities can be as important to a child’s development as academics. Encourage your children to become involved in a group or organization that will help them to pursue their interests, hone their talents, and broaden their knowledge. Discuss the range of offerings with your children before they can make decisions based more on their friend’s preferences than their own. Read also this article about a teacher who brings diversity to the classroom.

September is also the time to make sure that practices that caused your child difficulty last semester are not repeated. Did you have concerns over last-minute homework preparation? Take the time to set up a homework schedule. Was there a subject that gave your child consistent trouble? Don’t wait for that to happen again. Arrange now for your child to receive extra help or private tutoring. Many schools offer peer tutoring by Honor Society members, and it’s your child’s for the asking.

School is unquestionably the center of your children’s social lives, and conflict with peer relationships can often overshadow successes in academics. The older your child, the less likely he or she is to share these problems with you if they occur, therefore you need to be as observant as you can without intruding in your teen’s privacy. Express your hopes that your children will make some new friends this year. Once parents can no longer make play dates for their children our direct influence in selecting their friends is strongly diminished, but your teens can still benefit from your guidance and your calm, subjective observations. Initiate conversations about their friendships, they may hear more of what you say than they appear to.

Above all, help your children to start the new school year with a positive attitude and the knowledge that you will do all that you can to help them to succeed academically, to participate in the activities that are important to them, and to enable them to enjoy spending time with good friends and family, too. Then, later in their lives, when they will have to write a resume, they will be better equipped to do so in the right way.

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