Editor's note: This post was originally published on January 5, 2015.
Not immediately after the long holiday break, but some time in January is an ideal time for a "check-in" with your child and with yourself.
While you're at it, it's also an ideal time to confer with your child's teachers, too. (Most grade-slipping occurs in the third quarter of the school year.)
What should you say? What should you do? How do you proceed so that you aren't too overzealous or paranoid? Simple.
As a former classroom teacher and a mom to three elementary-school aged kids, I suggest trying the following three things every single January for as long as your kids are in school:
1. Talk to your child. In terms of school, ask him how things are going and what subjects are his most and least favorite. Ask what he wishes would happen so that the rest of the school year is awesome. Find out what he thinks are his areas of strength and need. Then share that information with his or her teacher. (More on this in #3.)
Ask about his friends and classmates. Decide if his extra-curricular activities are working out or not. Find out any help he needs with school and friends.
Does he need you to check in with him every night? Does he need to pack his backpack each evening before bed? Does he need to spend less time with a certain friend? What can you, as a parent, do to help?
2. Get organized. Help your child organize her backpack and folders. Clean out all of the old so there's room for the new.
Go through your family folders, emptying out the papers you no longer need. If you have a central "command station" in your house (usually your kitchen, mud room, or office area), clean it out.
Replenish her school supplies, tend to broken binders, run the lunchbox through the washer. Make sure that everyone — and every thing — is geared up to begin the New Year fresh and ready to learn.
3. Send an email to your child's teacher. Make it short and sweet and simply ask if there's a time you can chat about your child's progress. Perhaps it's over the phone, or maybe it's in person. Maybe email is best.
Share with the teacher what your child told you about his or her needs, and see what you all can do to make it happen. You are a team when it comes to your child's education; you must all work together to ensure your child's school success. Make sure the teacher knows that you're here to help!
Before we know it, we'll be wrapping up the school year, so don't let January pass by without adding these three important topics to your to-do list!
What do you do to start the New Year off on the right foot? Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page and let's continue the conversation!
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