The school year is almost over and, before memories dim, try looking back at the academic year with an objective eye; how did the year evolve for you and your children?
- Did your child use the best study skills, or does he even know them?
- Did your child’s teacher go out of the way to establish a positive relationship with both you and your child?
- Was there a team approach involved for your child’s education that included the school, the child, and parents?
- Were strategies of self-care practiced by your family and the school community so all experienced lower stress levels and greater life-balance?
- Were student extracurricular schedules carefully planned so no one was over-committed, either by activity participation, carpooling duties, or financial commitment?
- Does the family have a mission statement so everyone is clear on the most important goals the family unit holds, and how to best stay on track to meet those objectives?
These are just a few of the questions we should all be asking ourselves at the beginning, end, and throughout every school year. The answers to these questions can seem so easy, or obvious, that we actually often lose sight of them as the rush and busyness of daily life scoops us up and carries us away. But if there are just one or two areas that stand out to you, try deciding now what you can do to improve the situation for next year, and, hopefully, all the years that follow.
If your family’s schedule is overloaded, try deciding on the lines you, as a family, don’t want to cross:
- How often do you want to have uninterrupted family dinners?
- How many after-school activities are reasonable for each child?
- Have you plotted details on a calendar to literally see the days/times impacted?
- Do all activity requirements fall within a reasonable range of time and financial commitment?
If your child is experiencing academic difficulties, what areas need revising?
- Is technology interfering with school responsibilities? How much screen time should be allowed for each member of the family (including television, computer, cell phones, etc) and what time should technology be turned completely off at night?
- Have your children integrated appropriate study and organization skills into their daily practices, and which can be strengthened, and how?
It’s very possible that having a “successful” family experience comes down to setting clearly defined priorities; that way, there will be no real questions as to what your family holds as most important. It will then be possible to look at each activity, place it beside your “big-picture” goals, and be able to more easily decide if that activity helps achieve the goals you have in mind, or not. Those that help advance your objectives will be easy to determine, and celebrate. And those that don’t will lead you to a decision-making process to help you choose what steps to take next.
Life provides us with enough obstacles as it is; there’s simply no reason to make our daily experiences more difficult than necessary. Take the time to give careful consideration to what your family values, and the life you want to create for yourself and your loved ones, and make sure you proceed with the end in mind.