From Frog Collecting to Number Crunching

Along with buying new pencils and notebooks, back to school means a return to routines, alarm clocks, and the responsibilities that many of our children left behind with the last bell in June. There are all kinds of systems families can use, and Vicki Hoefle offers a plan that is about progress, change, and the long-term goal of encouraging independence and self-reliance in our children.

Here is my “top 10” list for making the transition from frog collecting to number crunching a smooth one, for kids and parents alike. With these pointers in mind, you’ll help your children begin the school year on the right foot.
1. Ask yourself, “What will it take for my children to manage their schedules independently?” Work with your kids to make a list of everything that needs to happen in order for your kids to be ready for the school day.
2. Allow your kids to establish a routine that works for them, even if they flounder for a week or two.
3. Have faith that your children can handle the natural consequences of their decisions.
4. Show empathy and help your children work through any problems that arise, but don’t be their savior.
5. Set parameters about acceptable dress for school that you and your kids can agree on, and then bite your tongue.
6. Establish a framework for discussing the ups and downs that your kids are sure to encounter as the school year progresses. You want your children to know that you’re on their side, no matter what.
7. Create a roadmap with your children to help them set goals for the year and begin thinking about what it will take to achieve those goals.
8. Set up a time every week to connect as a family.
9. Figure out what you, as a parent, can let go of to encourage your childrens’ independence.
10. Go slow. Encourage progress and recognize growth, and remember that you are the best parent for your child.