Friday, September 17, 2010

Now's the Time To Pay Attention!

School started a few weeks ago, the novelty is wearing off, and routines are setting in. Although it’s tempting to just settle in and let things run their course, now is really the perfect time to look closely at what’s going well and to uncover those little problems that might get bigger. This is true for all students, from kindergarteners to university students. Little, developing problems are easier to solve and there’s still plenty of time to make up for any lower grades. Habits haven’t set in too much yet and it’s easy to create new routines.

First, it’s important to think about what went well last year, and what you’d like to change this year. Did missing assignments snowball into low grades? Did you get overinvolved as a parent, not allowing your child to develop independent skills? Did you forget to factor in time for social connections with other students?

Second, look closely at how that aspect is going this year. Are you just starting to see one or two missing assignments? Are you jumping in a bit to nag, (help) your child? Are you ducking into the library at lunchtime?

Third, look for those tiny changes you can make to improve the situation. The best results often come from rules or systems. Can you start checking the school website every evening before going to bed, and make sure you’ve completed, and packed up, all your assignments? Can you set up a check list for your child, and then let her be responsible for her own work? Can you promise yourself that just once a week, you’ll take the risk and eat lunch with someone else?

Remember, the earlier in the year you try making changes, the bigger the impact of those changes.