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Author Bio:  Angela Nettuno @ BHBKToys  – Former teacher and Social Worker, Writer, Educational Consultant, President and founder of Bear Hugs and Butterfly Kisses /wife/ mom of two amazing teens!  Angela is passionate about helping parents understand their developing child so they can truly enjoy every day with their little miracles!  For inspirational information about parenting, teaching, and developmental play, visit her website and connect with her at and Twitter- @BHBKToys.

New School Year = New Relationships, New Challenges

A new school year is a very exciting time!   The opportunities and possibilities seem endless…   Where do you start?  What clubs and extracurricular activities should your child join?  Will he make friends?  Will he like his teacher(s)?

As a parent it’s natural to want the best for your child and hope he will adjust well and thrive both academically and socially!  It’s very common, however, to feel overwhelmed and even helpless – like it’s all out of your control…   There are a few things, however, you can do as a parent  to help start the new year off on a positive note.

As a former teacher, I know all too well how tough teacher’s have it.  They are definitely overworked and under paid which makes it difficult to always attend to every detail.  As the parent, it’s up to you to keep them informed about your child and to help your child navigate his way through the challenges of a new school year!  The following tips will help you start the new  year off on the right foot!

  1. Make sure your child is organized at home and has a quiet, well lit place to study.

  2. Always encourage your child!  Tell him it’s going to be great because….

  3. Ensure your child gets enough sleep every night and is on time every day!  This will alleviate morning stress and each day will start on a positive note!

  4. Try to avoid discussing problems in the morning or on the way to school.   Just in case the conversation gets heated, you wouldn’t want to send him off upset!

  5. Help your child achieve his full potential by setting goals!  Encourage him to reach beyond his comfort zone one baby step at a time until he reaches his goals!  Positive reinforcement is the key!

  6. Send the new teacher (s) a brief e-mail explaining your child’s likes and dislikes, personality, learning style, etc.  Pulling the teacher aside for a brief chat at back to school night is also a great way to give him/her a heads up and show you are an involved parent!   Teachers love involved, supportive parents!

  7. Be positive when interacting with your child’s teacher(s)!

  8. Ask the teacher his/her preference about the best way to communicate with him/her.

  9. Volunteer at your child’s school!  It sets a great example when your kids see you giving your time to help others!  Volunteering also helps you stay on top of what’s happening in the school as well as in your child’s classroom.  Finally, volunteering provides the perfect opportunity to meet other parents AND children giving you an idea of their values, etc.

  10. NEVER adopt the “not my child” attitude!  Not only does this make the teacher’s job more difficult, but if there IS an underlying issue with your child you will be doing him a disservice by denying it.   It’s common for kids to go through stages, SOMETIMES acting up out of confusion or in an attempt to just “fit in.”

An important note to parents…..

A new school year is packed with new challenges as well as new opportunities for both academic and social growth.  A child that always seemed so well-adjusted may suddenly begin acting out.  This new behavior can have many causes.  It may be simply the academic pressures of a new grade level, and/or the anxiety of making new friends, OR there may be something more going on.  It’s important to look at the whole child giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Every child is a miracle – unique in his own way!  For the most part most children do not want to be difficult and if they are acting out there is usually an underlying reason.  It’s common for learning disabilities to surface as the curriculum demands more and more critical thinking AND as the goal of reading changes from “Learning to Read” to “Reading to Learn.”

Although it can be normal for a child to act up from time to time, if the negative or immature behavior continues it may be a “red flag” indicating a possible learning disability.  If you suspect a learning disability begin by discussing it with your child’s teacher and the principal.  For more information about Learning Disabilities please see my article, where I discuss Red Flags to look for and the process for diagnosis in the public school systems.

Good luck with your little miracles, and I truly hope the 2013/2014 school year is your child’s best yet!


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