Schools are starting up again, which means parents are dashing through the aisles at Target to get the school supplies their children need to be ready for the school year.
But there are some necessities for a school year that you cannot purchase. They are just as important, more so perhaps, but they require a bit of soul-searching instead of aisle searching.
Talk to your children about some of these topics before they head off to their first day of their new school year:
People who want to learn are more likely to do so. Explain to your children the value of wondering and asking why.
Remind them of what they were like when they were 3 years old, and “why?” was the predominant word out of their mouths. Show them all of the important things they have already learned only because they asked for an explanation.
Explain to your children the value of participating in class discussions. Make them understand that teachers LOVE when their students raise their hand and ask for more information. And teachers are more likely to enjoy their students who enjoy the process of learning.
Tell your children that billions, billions of people saw apples fall from the tree. Isaac Newton was the first one to ask “why”.
Every school year is slightly different than the one before it. There are new teachers, a new classroom, new rules, and perhaps a new classmate. There are new topics to learn.
Tell your children to be open and enthusiastic about the changes. It’s true that we like the familiar, and your kids will relish seeing friends from the year before that they did not get to
hang out with over the summer. But the transition from one school year to the next provides an opportunity to become a slightly different person. Tell your children to be open to all of the new things being thrown their way. Who knows? They may find the subject that they have been seeking for years, the one that is going to spur them to do well in middle school and high school and college.
Be open to new people as well. They may have loved last year’s teacher, but they very well will learn to love this year’s educator. There is something so exciting about fresh ideas and experiences. Tell your kids to relish them, and to tell you about all the new things they are going through in their current school year.
Bullying, and the Friendship
Every year, friendships change. As kids get older, their priorities change, and their personalities grow. Your children will learn that best friends can remain best friends, even as they are slightly different than they were the year before.
Let your children know it is OK to have more than one “best friend”. Friendship does not need to be a competition. Someone once said the value of a person is not determined by the number of friends they have but by the number of people who want to be their friend.
Ask your child to pay attention to the new kid in class. Is he or she alone? Are they being bullied? Are they being ignored? Ask your child if he or she wants to be the one who befriends the new kid, who is going through one of the toughest experiences a child can have – going to a new school.
Playing the Memory Game
It may have been a long time ago, but what do you remember most from your own first grade experience? What was the most important aspect of seventh grade?
Before your kids get too ingrained in this current school year, ask them what they remember most from years past. It will be a fun exercise for both you and your child, but it will also prompt them to realize that there is something that will happen in this school year that will be the most important or most memorable. That will prompt enthusiasm for the prospect of oging to school and wondering “what’s going to be special about this year?”
What You Know They Don't Know
As a parent, there is one fact you know that your kids do not know, and that is that life is short. Tell your kids to go to school filled with anticipation for what is ahead, but this year and in years going forward. Let them know the value you gained from your own childhood education, and make them understand that the best part of your day is when they come home and say “Guess what I learned in school today?”