1. Time management
Time management is important for students to begin learning as early as elementary school. Teaching them early when to do homework and when to play is important at a young age as school work tends to be lighter at those times. Making those habits young will help them as they get older.
Finishing as much work and studying at school as they can is the most important piece of advice. Many times parents don’t realize how much time students are given in the classroom to complete tasks, but they don’t take advantage of it. Working on homework and studying in school is so vital because you have the teachers and help available right there when you need it.
What can’t be finished at school should be done as close to the time school lets out as possible. You want students working on school work when it is fresh on their minds not after they have done one thousand other tasks and have forgotten the main points.
Structure is key when it comes to time management. Come up with a plan that works for your child and your family and try as much as you can to keep that same structure and routine in place from day to day.
2. Life experience
Many students have so much else going on in addition to school and extracurricular activities. They are involved in charities, they have jobs and the list goes on. If at any point you see your child is struggling to keep up you may need to cut back on these things. Kids need time to decompress, they need time just to veg out just like we do as adults. Packing their schedules full may look great on their college application, but it wont be good for their whole self.
Incorporate more things into your child’s life as they can handle it. DO NOT compare your child’s after school activities to those of others. Students who are taking AP classes are not going to be able to take on as much outside of the classroom because of the extreme work load of the college like classes. The good news about AP classes is they are earning college credit and this too looks good on a college application.
Make sure you are focusing on your child as a whole and their mental well being. School and education are priority number one.
3. Getting enough sleep
We are all at a loss of sleep these days! We have so many distractions! So much research says students should be getting 8-10 hours of sleep every night. Here is a great article about students and their sleep
I feel these articles can preach all day long about how much sleep my child should be getting, but it is impossible. We as parents can kill ourselves trying, but personally there is no way my kids get this much sleep. You as a parent need to make sure your child is rested. There are days just like adults have that are worse then others. Days when you will be sick and cant sleep, days when you get to sleep all day. The most important thing for you to do is listen to your body and listen to your child and make a sleep schedule that is good for both of you.
4. Eating well
If we aren’t getting the 8-10 hours of sleep we need then we need to focus on making the hours we are awake count by watching what we put in our kids mouths. As a mom myself it is so hard sometimes to make sure every meal is balanced and healthy and honestly I think that’s totally unrealistic. All parents want their kids eating healthy and want their kids to be in lean shape, but that’s not reality. Our lives are so crazy and we are always running everywhere. Chick fil a knows us by name because they have great side options that make me feel like mom of the year for getting my kids the fruit vs the fries. Sometimes we need to let ourselves off the hook and realize its ok, we are doing the best we can.
Sitting down and meal planning has been a huge help to me and my family. By doing this I can have a plan ahead of time so that its easier to reach for something healthy vs unhealthy.
5. Making time for friends and down time
This is one of the most important things parents need to realize! Scheduling our kids out may look great to other moms or on applications, but it may not be the best for them. Remember the days growing up before there were cell phone and the internet (yes, I know how did we survive?) We use to go to our friends house and play outside and not come in till the street lights came on. Some will say “but its different now there are more requirements”. I am not sure I agree, our kids only have the requirements and commitments we give them. They are kids we are in control. If your child is not having fun in life and always stressed out and so are you, what is the point? Why are you driving them everywhere if you both hate it? On the other hand what if they love it all and you are trying to make sure they can do it all. It’s not possible to do it all! Maybe you have to compromise and say this semester you can do this activity and next semester you can do the other. You have to be in control of letting them be a kid!
6. Mental health
More and more these days we hear about mental health. It is widely talked about a lot more then it ever has been before and I think it is very important. Make sure you are doing a check in with your child. They may not let you know when they are burnt out because they don’t want to let you down. Ask them how they are doing possibly even schedule some down time things they love to help them relieve stress. As a mom of three I love a massage! This is something I do for myself to relieve stress. What is it for your child? Is it riding bikes, skateboarding, reading a book? Whatever it is make it acceptable for them to fit this time in. We all need mental health breaks and kids these days especially need them!
7. Staying connected
I always talk about communicating with your child this is so important! I have heard several times though “my child wont talk to me”. They will you just need to find the right time and place and DO NOT JUDGE THEM. Many times kids feel reluctant to share information or scared to tell you things because you could become angry or judge them for a decision they made.
I always tell my kids they can always talk to me and if anything is going on to talk to me about it and we can come up with a solution. If they get in trouble at school I make sure to tell them they always need to tell me before the teacher does because that way we can talk about it and find a better way to handle things next time, but if they don’t tell me and the teacher has to then the punishment is not just going to be a talk. I find the best time to talk with my kids is in the car! Talk to them let them know they are safe and you wont judge them, you just want to hear them. Everyone in life just wants to be heard at times!
Sometimes if you have family or friends that are close your child may feel better talking to them as well. No matter who they are talking to just make sure they are talking to someone about their day to day things as everyone needs an outlet.