Another start to the school year is upon us. Some kids are excited at the prospect of seeing friends again and showing off their new school clothes while others long for an endless summer. For all students the start of the new school year is a clean slate for making accomplishments and experiencing new things.
As kids head back to school it’s important for us, as adults, to help ease them through the transition so they can start the year off on a positive note. Teachers play an important role, but parents and guardians can also set the tone for the first day of school with these three pieces of advice.
1. Follow the Golden Rule
There’s no better advice for kids (and adults) than to do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Kids learn the golden rule, but often the emphasis is put on how they treat their peers. It’s important for kids to know that it also applies to their teachers, faculty members and opponents during sporting events.
By showing your child that the golden rule applies to everyone in their world, you’re teaching your child that relationships matter and there is great importance in respecting and building connections with others. Instead of burning bridges, they’re creating bonds that can help them forge friendships and perform better in school. For ways to encourage relationship building, download our relationship guide and help your child apply our tips to their classroom or schoolyard.
Preaching the golden rule is also an effective way to thwart bully behavior. The experiences in our school years have a profound effect on our adulthood and how we interact with others in the workplace. The biggest finding from recent studies is that bullying negatively impacts the victim and the perpetrator. In fact, kids that are both the bully and the victim appear to be most affected.
Bullying in school can have a lasting effect on a child’s physical, mental and emotional health. Many bullies are at increased risk of participating in risky behavior whereas victims have a higher likelihood of experiencing health issues later in life. All around, kids involved in bullying struggled with social relationships compared to kids that don’t report having experiences with bullying. These issues can bleed into their professional lives as adults and influence how well they communicate and work with others.
2. Every Person Does Something Better Than You, and You Do Something Better Than Them
This one piece of advice does two things. First, it helps kids acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. Secondly, it also teaches them to appreciate what others bring to the table.
It’s easy for us to get down on ourselves when we see others excelling while we struggle. During those moments it’s important for kids to remember that they have unique talents of their own. Having this mindset will help kids look at losses in sporting events, science fairs and competitions in a healthier way. Instead of looking at it as a failure on their part, they’ll learn to acknowledge the excellent performance of others. They’ll be more likely to note what they did well and what they could have done better.
That’s the type of thinking that’s needed to realize your ONE Thing. You need to believe in yourself, have faith in your capabilities and see failure as an opportunity to improve. Encouraging your kids to always nurture their talents and respect the talents of others will help them develop a winning attitude.
3. You’re Never Too Young to Set a Goal
The start of a new school year is a great time to encourage kids to set goals. While you’re getting ready for the first day of school talk to your kids about what they expect to experience during the coming semester, what they look forward to and what they hope to accomplish. It’s a perfect jumping off point for suggesting that they set a goal.
The concept of goal setting is foreign to many elementary school students, but you’ll be surprised how well they respond to the idea. Parents can help by offering to be their kid’s accountability partner. Start by breaking down goal setting best practices like the 1-3-5 rule and the importance of prioritizing so your child understands hitting goals is a process.
Once they know the basics of goal setting, help your kid find their first domino. Make the initial goal something small and easily attainable. A win at the beginning will help them build confidence to keep going after bigger goals. Use your time in the car on the way to and from school or activities to touch base on how things are going and how you can continue to provide support as they work towards their own ONE Thing.
How are you preparing your kid for the new school year? Share your favorite pieces of advice with us on Facebook or in the comments section below.