Month: September 2018

Take Note


Its day three and the newness of school has worn off and teachers have already begun giving assignments (…the good ones have).  Next week, Taughtology begins its home-school communication program to help families stay on top of instruction and academics.   Some of our tools will be free and some not so free but all are valuable.  Take note right now of the moods and ‘tudes your child has regarding school because as the days get darker longer, locating the spark for school that exists this week and using it to light the learning fire will be a challenge.

In all likelihood, day two of school is a recap of the day one. In fact, days three through ten will probably recap day one. Because the first day of school for many kids is like a job interview for many adults. The same way that we want to pick the right outfit, say the right things and make a good impression on a bunch of strangers, they do to. We try to show all of our good parts while restraining our true thoughts and emotions. We try to play it cool, but when those emotions rapidly shuttle between excitement and fear, kids, and adults alike, experience anxiety (just like everyone else).

How can families help manage the anxiety?

1. Listen. A simple mathematical equation is two ears-one mouth=understanding. Don’t judge the source of the anxiety with phrases like “that is nothing to be afraid of” or “don’t be a baby”.

2. Validate. Let them know that this fear is normal by sharing an experience of a time you may have felt the same.

3. …but don’t Ruminate. Speak in action steps after allowing the child to fully exhaust their feelings on the issue. Let them know their feelings are normal BUT to manage those feelings they have to develop an action strategy.

4. Target Objectives. If communication is the problem create a task around that like one new friend. If organization is the problem create a goal around that like get a new agenda planner or downloading a new app. Basically, talk
through some solutions. Solutions will be even stronger if the student develops them on his/her own.

5. Follow-Up. Benchmark by checking in with the child to see how the plan is working. If the child is not talkative, you may need to monitor behaviors like sleeping and eating patterns to see if they are settling in.

6. Repeat as Necessary. For some kids, every day in school is like the first day. You may need to go through this process for a few days, weeks or months until comfort is established in the environment.

Cookie Monsters


Years ago, my mother started a tradition with the kids in the family that persists. She issued a proclamation that there will always be fresh baked cookies (more from Keebler than from scratch) on the first day of school. Naturally, kids and cookies go together so at the Labor Day cookout every year, they put orders in for the types of cookies they wanted. Well, last year, she thought the kids, ALL of whom are in double digits, had now outgrown the tradition and decided to take herself to Hawaii. The weeping and gnashing of teeth that ensued for not noshing on cookies laid the foundation for a guilt trip much more memorable than her Hawaii excursion. Needless to say, she learned her lesson and the cookies are baking as we speak.

Education is a part of the culture of effective families. While it is important that families create rules and routines help students know it is serious celebratory rituals make it memorable and fun!

Does your family have a Day 1 back to school ritual? Any other rituals?