Parental guidance for the new academic year

Through this fortnightly column, Sunaina Vohra helps you keep parenting sane and simple, and guides you to trust your intuition – because, no one knows your child like you do

Tabloid

Is it that time of the summer holidays already? When you as parents are dreading the morning routine combined with school work, after-school activities and various school runs, imagine the impact it might have on your children.

The two-month-long summer holidays allow children to laze around, enjoy some late nights and spend time with the family. But when holidays come to an end, the children feel they are jolted out of this easy lifestyle into a regimented time frame. Most of them are also anxious about the start of the new academic year.

It is therefore necessary that parents realise this transition is not easy for children. They can start following a similar routine from at least a week before the schools reopen. This would ease the transition for both you and your child.

Over the past few years, I have coached some children who have taken months to settle into a new school year due to various reasons — new school, best friend leaving school/country, victim of bullying, poor grades, etc. Parents must prepare their children, both physically and emotionally, to face the challenges of the coming year.

A week before the first day of school, start preparing your child physically — proper sleep, healthy snacks and meals, regular exercise, reduced internet and gadget time and a tidy environment. The school bag and uniform of the child should also be kept ready in advance to avoid last minute stress.

To make children emotionally strong, talk to them about the last year’s struggles and challenges and what they learnt from them. Ask them if they need extra support for any subject, sports, etc, or if they would like to talk to a professional life coach. Reassure your child of your support and presence and mention the areas where he has excelled in and what he needs to do to keep building on his strengths.

Lastly, it is also a good time to encourage your child to create a “goal chart” for the new academic year covering areas he would want to shine in. Ask him to choose three areas — Academics, Sports, Friends — and under each heading write what his goal is. For example, Academics: Improve in Maths from 60 per cent to 70 per cent average; Cricket: Apply for the school team; Friends: Make new friends, call one new friend every month for a play date. Let it be his goal chart and not something you subtly impose on him, let this academic year be his year to shine. Get him to create this chart in the week leading to his new academic year so that he begins to slowly visualise school and his path to success.

 

This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to tabloid@gulfnews.com

— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to www.athenalifecoaching.com or call 056-1399033.

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