It’s January 2, 2011 and we’ve all read and heard plenty on the “new year, new you” or “new year’s resolution” front. The new year has obviously arrived and what might not be so obvious, is the need to adjust into the inherent transitions the new year bring, especially with regard to school. Many parents will exhale a sigh of relief as the bus or car pool pulls up and the “normal” schedule returns. Secretly, many children and teachers will, too.
The same holds true this January 2011. Keep the schedule you established earlier in the year, but consider changes in your child’s development. Are they ready for more responsibilities? Gradually add those into the mix. Have they become more confident readers? Let them take ownership by writing (pictures and words) check lists for preparing for and returning from school. This builds autonomy and independence, and may even give you a bit more time for other things. Or let them read more to you, then you read to them. Are they becoming more fluent with math facts? Let them count the coins you receive as change, then they get to keep them. Be sure to schedule time to visit the library, go for walks and keep active with things they enjoy – not just structured activities run by adults.
This January, take a bit of time to stay focused on priorities and reacclimating yourself and your child to the routine. Know that this process won’t happen overnight. Monday morning will certainly arrive too early and remembering where things go and how to take care of each other and our stuff may take a bit of reminding. If you’ve been snowed in or your school limits outdoor play in colder temperature, you might find yourself doing more redirecting and having to find creative ways to get kids moving indoors our out.
If you need some inspiration and guidance to take good care of yourself so you are better able to care and support children, read Chris Brogan’s advice on Distractions Are Yours to Manage or Michele Woodward’s take on Personal Planning. If you’re a teacher, check out The Responsive Classroom article on Starting Over at Mid-Year.
There’s no mandate to set resolutions as the calendar flips over to January. But it is a good time to reflect on your priorities as well as who your child is at this moment in time and what routines, expectations and support will optimize her learning and enjoyment of life. There are many ways to tackle that tasks, which is what makes life so interesting.