Given the displays in stores, ads on TV and the hopeful look on the faces of many parents, school is either starting soon or has just begun. However, we realize that it is a mixed bag for both parents and kids. Parents look forward to the stricter routines dictated by the school calendar yet will miss the more relaxed summer family schedule. Also, if there were school issues that were unresolved at the end of the last school year the new year starting reminds us that they must be re-visited. The additional stress on schools because of cutbacks and a media obsession with test scores has also added to parental anxiety about their schools.
Kids also have mixed feelings about going back to school. Despite their outward gloom, many kids really look forward to the structure and routine of school along with reuniting with friends. On the other hand, if school has not been a place where kids have achieved recognition, then the idea of going back to school becomes stressful for them.
We explore these contradictions and offer specific strategies on the best ways for parents to both be engaged in their child’s education and also how they can work with other parents to deal with the external issues of budget cuts and sagging teacher morale. Parental engagement includes creating a rich language environment by reading to kids and encouraging them to express their thoughts and ideas; monitoring homework without getting overly involved, setting and monitoring kids schedules and activities and responding to school issues quickly and effectively.
We close with our segment, “There’s Got To Be a Better Way” where we relate how our personal parenting stories and what we learned can be the solution for you.