Back-to-school season is coming! Are you and your child ready for it? We’ve gathered 6 helpful ways you can make your child’s new year a successful one - both inside and outside of school. After all, success isn’t just about good grades, it’s about developing and feeling good about yourself, in all areas of life!
You’re the model
First thing to note - happier kids are more likely to become more successful in life. One way to make your child happy is by modelling happiness yourself. Research shows that parental depression can cause behavioural problems in children, making parenting less effective. So, make an effort to build on your own happiness - hang out with your friends and family who relieve stress, who lighten your mood, and who make you laugh and smile. A positive presence can easily uplift your kid’s mood!
It’s in the journey, not the destination
In school, focus less on your child’s achievements and grades, and more on their journey and effort. If you focus too much on achievements, you’re kids are more likely to become stressed and/or lose motivation to learn. Praise them for the effort and hard work they put in, and they’ll want to keep engaging in that process until they actually do achieve. When you shift the focus away from the grades, you can put more effort into asking your children questions like ‘Which study techniques worked for you and which ones didn’t?’, ‘What did you learn?’, ‘What was enjoyable and what wasn’t?’ ‘Why or why not?’.
Look on the brightside
Thinking optimistically about the world is closely related to success in school, sports, relationships, and health. This also means thinking optimistically about our past failures. Life (especially for children) is about falling and getting back up again, and learning from that. Try building a growth mindset with your child. You can talk about your own failures or struggles with your kids, showing them that you’re also in it to learn and grow. If they see you being optimistic and learning from mistakes, they’ll do the same. As they face adversity with a positive growth mindset, they gain a heightened sense of competence and self-efficacy.
Get your kid to set 2 or 3 doable goals at the beginning of the school year, the first of every month, or the beginning of a new season. Get them to share their goals with others - it will give them that social support and extra push to achieve those goals. But remember to keep the discussion light with no pressure. It’s not about what goals you set, it’s about supporting each other in the journey to achieving those goals. Set your own goals too! We have to be emotionally and intellectually brave in order for our kids to see that example and do the same.
Build study habits together
Everything is easier when you make a habit of it! Make sure your child has a daily routine that works for them. How? Ask your kids what their perfect homework routine looks like. Do they come home, play, then get to work? Or save the play as a reward for after they work? Help them organise their time so that they are productive, but also have plenty of rest and me-time. After a long day of school and after-school activities, they need breaks for unstructured play to release energy, improve their social skills, and boost their cognitive development.
Make them rest
Kids need a lot more sleep than adults do. School-age children need 9 to 11 hours every night to be physically and mentally healthy. It’s vital for learning and memory consolidation and affects their performance at school the next day. So make this year the year of going to sleep at regular bedtimes! If they’re staying up late doing homework, think about what else in their schedule can be moved to make sleep a priority.
You play a bigger part in your child’s success both in and out of school than you may think. These small everyday tips and tricks can make a big difference to your child’s outlook on life, and in turn affect their success. So try some of them out in the new year, and your child will be as excited and invested in their future as you are!