Starting the School Year on the Right Foot
Monday, August 13, 2012
The following is an excerpt from Family Talk Blog, by Dr. Paul Schoenfeld.

The long, slow days of summer are winding down as September comes into view. Back to school clothing sales are in high gear as kids get ready to start a new school year. Children who are starting to get antsy with summer's lack of structure start look ing forward to the predictability and consistency that school provides. It's getting to be that time once again... what can parents do to get the new school year started on the right foot?

Review the previous year
Consider your child's experience from last year. What subjects did he do well in? What were her struggles? How did she get along with peers? How did your family approach these challenges? What strategies worked well and which ones did you ditch? As parents, what did you learn about your youngster from his experience in the previous grade?

Reflecting on the previous year enables you to think ahead to the coming year. What problems are likely to rear their ugly head? If Joey had trouble getting up on time last year, it's not likely he is going to become a morning person this year! If Sarah had trouble buckling down to do her homework in 8th grade, expect a repeat for 9th grade. Most of the problems from the year before don't disappear in the next grade. Sometimes their problems grow in size as they get bigger.

Establish goals and an action plan for the coming year
As you reflect on last year, establish goals and an action plan with your youngster for the coming year. Don't listen to their pleas that everything will be different this year! To read the rest of Dr. Paul's suggestions, or to comment, visit