School is back in session for lots of kidlings around the country, so how are you gonna help your child tackle another year of new experiences? The parenting gurus over at Shine!.com put together this list:
1. Make Sure Your Kids Get Enough Sleep. Lack of z's can seriously impact a child's ability to learn and perform. Set a bedtime routine, stick to it every night and shut off the cell phone, TV and computer at least thirty minutes before bed.
2. Applaud Their Efforts the Right Way. Studies from Colombia University show how you praise your kids can enhance --or impede--their achievement. Rather than emphasize getting straight A's, ask how hard they're working. This will encourage their persistence and they'll be less likely to blame bad grades on lack of ability.
3. Respect Their Learning Style. There are eight kinds of intelligence or, simply put --ways people learn. Pay attention to which type your child gravitates to, even if it's not the way YOU would do it.
4. Pay Attention to Their Peers. Peer pressure exists --but it's not always bad. Keep tabs on their friends' grades and talk, talk, talk about the future and all the possibilities. One Ohio State University study found that kids are more likely to have buddies who plan to attend college if they have a warm, positive relationship with their parents.
5. Make Family Meals a Must. Get everyone together at the dinner table and you'll be poising your precious bundles of joy to make good choices. Colombia University researchers discovered kids who eat with mom and dad are less likely to use drugs, alcohol, develop eating disorders and achieve higher grades. What you have really doesn't matter --but turn off the phone and TV so you can enjoy one another's company. Are you schedules headed in every different direction? If time doesn't allow a group supper, shoot for a late-evening snack or dessert.
6. Cut the Stress. Conflict within the home impedes a child's ability to learn. "De-stress" your babies with long walks, group stretches or movie night. Do you have a sticky wicket in the house? Teach them its okay to walk away from an argument, refuse to engage with a "screamer" and watch for warning signs that someone's about to come unglued.
7. Tailor Expectations to Your Child's Abilities. It's natural to imagine your mini-me is the next Rhodes Scholar --but every child is different. Approach school like a rubber band --gently stretch but don't snap! While a neighbor may brag about test scores, grades or their offspring's gift of intelligence, the apple of your eye will still go on to do amazing things. Remember this mantra: "Tailor thy parenting only to thy child."