This year is a milestone school year for my kids. My daughter entered middle school and my son started 3rd grade.
We all know what a big transition it is to go from elementary to middle school. Although my daughter was anxious at first, she’s managed to settle in quite well. My son has also made a smooth transition. Third grade is significant in Texas because it is a critical year for state academic testing. In addition, the work is significantly harder than in previous grades.
Both kids have managed to earn all As on their first report cards and I’m proud of their achievements. But their success wasn’t happenstance. It was a result of dedication, planning, and hard work.
As a dad, it’s sometimes hard to balance work and family time. However, it is critical that we show our kids the importance of education and help them to manage their responsibilities.
Here are three tips to help you and your family survive the school year.
Create a routine and stick to it
In order to have a successful school year, you must create a regular routine. In the evenings, my family and I have about three hours to get everything done before bedtime. This includes homework, music practice, dinner, and bath. In addition, we also have sports practice, Girl Scout meetings, AWANA, and other school and personal commitments. Without a regimented schedule, we would be frazzled and frantic. My wife developed a written schedule that keeps everyone sane. The kids use a timer to keep themselves on track and have taken ownership of their respective duties. If I observe our children veering from the schedule, it is my job to help guide them back on track. Maintaining the schedule can be difficult, and all family members must do their part to make it work.
Get involved in school activities
Many dads have busy schedules and it’s not always easy to volunteer at our children’s schools. But taking the time to show our kids that we are interested in their education helps to build their confidence. One way that I get involved at my kids’ schools is by reading to their classes. It takes no more than an hour and the kids (and teachers) really enjoy the interaction. I’ve also started to attend PTO meetings. Usually, I’m one of two dads who attend, but it keeps me informed of what decisions are being made. If you can’t spare the time to go to your child’s school, you can still get involved by helping with homework, planning academic activities at home, or by communicating with their teachers on a regular basis (via e-mail or phone).
Make time for family
The school year can be stressful. That’s why it’s important to nurture your family ties. Have regular meals together, play games, take trips. Don’t ever let a day pass without letting your family know how much you care about them. Kids need that assurance and sense of security. A dad’s love is a power thing.
Join the conversation: What tips do you have for surviving the school year?