4 important back-to-school tips for parents

Summer is winding down and kids will be hitting the books instead of the snooze button.

Parents are busy buying school clothes and supplies in preparation for another year.  In addition to encouraging children to stay organized and responsible with their time and activities, David "Dr Dave" Schramm from USU Extention, says it's important to have conversations about some social tips that will help them in their relationships with friends, teachers and even the bus driver.

Here are four things to discuss with your children as they head back to school:

  1. Make time to be kind. One of the best ways to make friends and a good first impression at school is to be kind. There are at least three simple things children of all ages can do. These are the 3 's': Smile, Serve, and Share. A smile is the first thing most people will see and remember. It shows friendliness, warmth, and openness. Serving others in small ways will also open doors to friendship. A simple compliment or grabbing something that has fallen on the floor can work wonders. Sharing paper, crayons, or even a treat can help as well. Parents can model these principles and invite their children to be kind and respectful to everyone.
  2.  It`s good to be grateful. Just like kindness, gratitude shows others you are open, thoughtful, and humble. Children can give thanks to anyone they meet, from the bus driver, to the gym teacher, and even the principal needs to hear expressions of thanks. Letters, texts, and sticky notes are simple ways to show gratitude to other students, teachers, and parents. Cultivating gratitude in your children starts with parents` willingness to express sincere thanks to others, especially to their children.
  3.  Notice and appreciate the good in each day. Children are often bombarded with negativity right from the start of school. From teasing and tests to homework and bad hair days, our brains are wired to focus and dwell on the tough stuff that happens. When children come home from school, ask about the best part of their day. Parents can do this at dinnertime or right before bedtime as well. It`s good to get good at noticing the good!
  4.  Be quick to forgive. With new schedules and routines comes new challenges and stress. Be patient with your children, especially the first few weeks of school. When parents keep their tone of voice low and are quick to forgive, it teaches children to be quick to forgive others. Similarly, teach children to be patient with others and quick to forgive offenses, including those from friends and teachers.

You can find more from Dr. Dave at: relationships.usu.edu.

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