News from the school psychologist


Back to School Tips

From The Yale Parenting Center Director
Dr. Alan Kazdin

Back to School

Children are back to school and new routines are now in place which are so different from what they were in the summer. There are two items that are useful to check on for elementary and middle school children. First, performance on homework and academic tasks are important, of course. Here it is useful especially at the beginning of the term, to have a routine for homework time. A time before or after dinner, whatever suits your life, but a regular time is the key. Also, if you can sit with your child and help get homework started, that can be very helpful at the beginning of the school year. If it is ever possible to get the child to chat informally about something interesting that was learned in school while eating dinner, that would be great as well. Maybe each person at the dinner table could talk about something interesting from that day just to get the ball rolling. Parent support for school and learning have great positive influences.

Second, a child's social life (friends, group activities) is important. In fact, getting along with others in school turns out to relate to how well children do academically. Having a friend and at least a little social life leads to better academic performance. Does your child have a friend? Being wildly popular is not so important, but having at least one friend is. If you can bring yourself to have a play date (an afternoon where a friend comes over) or you can get your child to a group activity (lesson, team) all that can help. If your child is a little withdrawn, schedule small doses (an hour) of supervised social events or experiences. Helping your child become involved with peers can be very beneficial. These days supervised time is especially valuable, and it is important to be sure activities are monitored and bullying is not going on. It seems everything like this was simpler in the past. It probably was. We are here now and technology (video games, access to the internet, more violence in the news) and all sorts of related cultural events like these, have made parenting a little more challenging today. The Yale Parenting Center specializes in helping parents with routine but also more severe challenges. If you would like more information or help contact us.

For Parents

Homework Harmony

Back to school means back to homework. If you dread it as much as your kids do, follow these suggestions and tips to make things go smoothly:
  • Establish a distraction free zone
  • Choose and stick to an approximate start time
  • Have the proper materials and let your child choose them
  • Use a daily assignment sheet that the teacher is involved in
  • Stay calm and be specific when you are telling your child to start homework
  • Praise your child's efforts before correcting mistakes
  • Take a break if things get heated
  • Set up a plan to reinforce homework if it is difficult, your child can earn small rewards or privileges for doing it calmly and praise
Posted by J. Davis on Wednesday October, 1, 2014 at 09:13AM

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