[ printable version ]

State of the Schools: Get Out of Your Child's Way8/14/2007

The back to school sales are in full swing.† The buses have been tuned up.† Those are the signs that it is time for my annual State of the Schools Address.This year will be a two-part address.Part one is:Get out of Your Childís Way!

Parents, I will be giving you some very crucial information.If this addres leaves you feeling a little bit uncomfortable or downright madthen YOU are exactly who Iím talking about.There are some moms and dads who are holding their children back.It isnít intentional, but it is damaging to your childís potential.You need to identify it and get a handle on it.Donít†get mad.† Just get it together.

Here are the 8 ways to get out of your childís way

1.††††† Improve Your Attitude Toward Homework.Kids will complain about homework.Parents should not complain about homework right along with their kids.Homework re-enforces the lessons learned at school.If you expect your children to pass statewide tests then homework should get some respect in your home.If you expect the honor roll, then expect homework!Donít moan and groan every time†your child†pulls a workbook out of their backpack.Show some enthusiasm.Negativity is contagious.Donít spread that disease to your children.

2.††††† Roll with the T-Unit!† That's the Teacher Unit!††They donít win a special award when they send home a lack of progress report.They donít get a special bonus for kicking your child out of school.That usually just means they have more paperwork to do.Roll with the T-Unit.Assume the teacher is telling you something negative about your child in hopes of correcting the problem so that your child can have a better school year.†

3.††††† Never bad-mouth the teacher in front of your child.If you call Ms. Wheezy a bitch at home, what do you think sheís calling Ms. Wheezy in the classroom.When you show no respect, you give your child a license to show NO respect. ††Listen up, Parents, before you take your childís side of the story and run with it, ask a few questions.† Does my child tell the truth all the time?Does my daughter get mouthy sometimes?Does my son get into fist-fights with his brother?†

4.††††† Get involved with the P.T.A,†††PTO, ††P.T.S.O.Whatever the parent/teacher organization is called in your district, join it this year.The more support your childís school is getting from the outside, the better the resources inside.

5.††††† Stop doing projects and homework†for them.You send your child to†school to learn!Get your moneys worth at that private school!Get your tax dollarís worth at that public school!If they do their own work it gives them a better shot at learning and RETAINING that lesson.Letís face it.Every teacher knows when a student is doing their own work.It isnít hard to tell when the little boy who can only draw stick figures has suddenly started illustrating like Michelangelo!Keep it real moms and dads!

6.††††† Keep bedtime consistent.Make sure your child gets plenty of sleep.† Elementary children need a minimum of 9 hours.††A bare minimum of 8 hours for junior high and high school.Sleep deprivation in children is very, very ugly.††Just say NO to staying up late.Drowsy students have short attention spans.Their short term memories are shot.Their responses are slow.They are irritable.Their A.D.D.†† or †††††A.D.H.D. behaviors get aggravated. Forget calling in the principal.Call an exorcist!

7.††††† Be on time!If your elementary age student is tardy it isnít his fault for being slow.It is the fault of the parent.Get your booties out from under those blankets earlier.† Do more preparation the night before.Late kids miss lessons and disrupt the entire class.When the class is disrupted there is less learning.

8.††††† Praise your child.Donít just grumble when bad test scores and C-minus papers find their way to your kitchen table.Celebrate all of the Aís.Compliment good or improved behavior.Ask questions about your childís school day.Applaud the positive you hear!Most children want to please their parents.Let your children know when you are pleased.Mommy and Daddy have a special way of letting each other know when theyíve been pleased.How about a, "YES!YES!!YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!"when your child writes a great poem or short story? Shout an enthusiastic, "yes,"†when you see a great science project.Cheer loudly for the soccer team.Cheer for the choir and the band!Cheer like Ohio State just won a national championship.† Cheer for your kid!