Tag Archives: back to school

5 Free Tools To Keep Your Son Focused This School Year

Back to school can be an exciting yet stressful time of the year. If your son is starting a new school or transitioning from elementary to middle or middle to high school, he’ll need tools to help him stay focused, organized and calm.  The following tools are great for giving your son an extra edge for the start of the school year.

Photo courtesy of Mrehan(Flickr)

Photo courtesy of Mrehan(Flickr)

1. Does Your Home Encourage Learning Questionnaire

Does your home reflect an environment conducive to learning? Depending on your son’s age, you can create a learning environment by providing resources  that support what your son learns in school as well as his specific interests. For example, if your son is interested in astronomy, there are low cost ways you can encourage his learning through DIY kits. Our kids spend many hours at school, so at home we want them to relax and unwind. This questionnaire helps you identify areas in which you may need to improve your child’s learning environment.  Does Your Home Encourage Learning

 

2. How Many Ways Are You Smart and Learning Styles Quiz

People are smart in various ways. We don’t need to get bogged down by what society defines as gifted or intelligent. Also, emotional intelligence is equally important as IQ.  Even if you know your son’s learning style, he needs to know how he learns best and his strengths. Knowing his learning style gives your son an advantage to learning faster.  How Many Ways Are You Smart and Learning Style Inventory Survey

 

3. School Year Vision Board

I do this with my oldest son every year  before back to school. It’s a great visual for boys to look at the year ahead. This is not a wish list but rather a visual plan for your son’s personal and academic success. Think of it as a visual reminder of his goals for the school year. There are online vision boards but I like the the old fashion way with a large poster board and pictures from magazines. I never tell my son what he can’t put on a board, I just give him tools on how to use the vision board.

 

4. Goal Setting Toolkit for Boys

Research shows that written goals have a 80% higher chance of being achieved. Goal setting for kids should be simple and short term. I’ve created this simple tool for boys because it gives them the steps they need to take to achieve their goals. Use this tool just for the year and have your son review it daily or weekly to ensure he is on track. When you sign up for my newsletter, you get the goal setting kit for free.  Raising Great Men Newsletter Signup and Free Goal Setting Toolkit

 

5. Stress Style Inventory

One of the many complaints I hear from parents and students is that they are overwhelmed and stressed.  The problem isn’t the stress but the how to properly manage the stress. Most kids and adults are not aware of their stress style. It is helpful to know if you experience stress through your mind or body. This inventory form helps you identify your stress style as well as offer tools for managing your stress.  Stress Style Quiz

These tools are a great way to get a jump start on the school year.  If you have other tools to share, please comment below.

The Seasons of Your Son’s Life

As we get ready for the summer season, I think about how we go through various seasons in life. We are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. As  we watch our kids finish the school year and prepare for the summer,  their physical transformation during  these brief months can leave us baffled by the brevity of childhood.  Just as the seasons change, our sons go through their seasons of emotional, mental, spiritual and physical change. Whether your son is in kindergarten, middle/high school or college, the season of his life will be filled with hope and challenges. While we wish we could easily prepare our sons for these transitions, we can’t predict with accuracy what will happen in each season of our son’s life.

Seasons of Your Son's Life

A few years ago, middle school felt like the coldest winter ever. Like a harsh winter season, my son’s school year was unpredictable and arduous. As a parent, sometimes all I could do was offer support and encouragement while feeling helpless and unproductive.  There were days the more I tried to help, the more he resisted. I learned to adapt to my son’s changes by being consistent with my presence without being overbearing. As my son grew older and learned how to manage his emotions, I also learned how to manage our mother-son relationship. I learned to be present when he was talking and when he needed me to guide, coach or direct him.

I learned to appreciate the seasons of my son’s life. Parenting doesn’t prepare you for unexpected power struggles, the moments of uncertainty, or the quiet emotional storms. Someone once told me, “Raising boys is deceptively simple”, and I agree that sometimes we make assumptions about the emotional lives of boys.

You may not notice the season of your son’s life until he reaches puberty. Then you may notice the varying degrees of emotions and behavior. Like rain on a sunny summer day or snow in the spring, be prepared  be caught off guard with unexpected changes. What’s most interesting about boys is that most of them are intricate, sensitive, and fragile, yet they mask this by being flippant, apathetic and indifferent.  Be patient with the passing storms and be grateful for the mild days. On days when you’re tempted to let the circumstances take over, remember like every season, this too shall pass.

 

How to Have a Healthy and Productive Back to School

It’s the time of the year that most kids have been avoiding; Back To School!

classroom

Going back to school can make some kids anxious. Some are starting kindergarten and others are transitioning from elementary to middle school or from middle school to high school. Help your child keep things in perspective by helping them to realize that this new experience is exciting. Encourage them to have a positive attitude about the experience. Start off the school year by leading by example. Set the standards for a responsible, independent, and successful child by being the role model. Here are some tips for making back to school a less stressful experience:

Nutrition

Preschool: Make sure your preschooler starts the day with a healthy breakfast. If you have a fussy eater, try variations of his  favorite foods.

Elementary/Middle School/High School: Kids in this age group need to have healthy eating habits as well as a fitness regimen. Serve your children healthy snacks and involve them in grocery shopping and the preparation of food. Try a new snack for lunch each week. If you’re stuck on what to serve your children, check out http://www.yourkidsandnutrition.com. Make sure your kids get adequate exercise each day.

Sleep

Preschool: Your child needs 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Develop and be consistent with a bedtime routine. Have your child engage in quiet activities before bedtime, such as reading a picture book or completing a puzzle. Avoid liquids close to bedtime. Check out: http://www.sleepforkids.org

Elementary: Encourage your child to develop a routine of falling asleep and waking at the same time, even on weekends. After a summer vacation, it can be quite difficult to get into the habit of falling asleep early. Have your child start sleeping an hour earlier and slowly transition into the appropriate bedtime. Avoid television and caffeine close to bedtime. Extra tip: Pay attention to any signs of stress. Ask your child questions to find out if they are anxious or feeling stress because of the new school year. Let them know you are available to listen, if they want to talk. For more information on kids and stress, visit http://www.kidshavestresstoo.org

Middle School/High School: Your child needs between 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep. Monitor digital technology intake before bedtime. Advise your child to avoid computer games and heavy studying before bedtime. Make sure your child turns off the television before bedtime.

Time Management

Preschool: If you want to avoid being late in the mornings, wake up a 1/2 to 1 hour earlier and get yourself prepared. Lay out the clothes the night before or if you able to for the entire week. Have breakfast ready for your preschooler and make getting ready a game. Play a beat the clock kind of game with your child. Preschoolers are very competitive and like to win.

Elementary School: Show your child the value of time by how you prioritize and organize your time. Teach your child to be more independent and responsible by allowing them to pick out their clothes.  Agree to a scheduled study time and support your child in being consistent with this time.

Middle School/High School: Avoid resentment and power struggles by setting reasonable guidelines. Help your child to approach time management with confidence. Instead of lecturing about the importance of time, show your child how to use their time more effectively. If they see you procrastinating, then they will assume it’s acceptable for them to procrastinate. Create a schedule and a list of things to do together. Teach them to set and follow through on specific goals.

Don’t forget to be supportive and provide a lot of encouragement throughout the year.