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Six Discussions to Start the School Year Right

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Boys Town Contributor

Six Discussions to Start the School Year Right

Every school year is your child’s opportunity for new success. If your child was less than successful the previous year, the school year ahead offers a clean slate. If they’ve been doing well throughout the years, then the new school year means a path to continued success, building on the positive skills and habits they’ve acquired.

To help start things off on the right foot, it’s a good idea to sit down with your child and discuss the upcoming school year. Here are six discussion topics to help you do just that:

  1. Discuss your child’s goals for the year, and have them write down. Ask your child:
    • Should you set goals each semester or for the entire year?
    • How will you achieve these goals?
  2. Ask your child what they want to be involved in this year.
    • Why is it important for you to be involved in clubs, sports and other activities?
    • What do you want to gain from your participation in activities?
    • Why are you drawn toward certain activities?
  3. Discuss what the word “challenge” means to your child and what their challenges will be this year. Ask your child:
    • What types of things would you find to be challenging?
    • Of those, which would be the most important for you to master, based on your goals for the year?
    • Can this challenge be broken down into milestones to make it easier to accomplish?
    • How will you start?
  4. Ask your child what they’re going to do differently this year.
    • What was unpleasant about last year?
    • How could your actions or choices improve the situation this year?
  5. Discuss how your child will strengthen new and old friendships this year. Ask your child:
    • What do other children like about you?
    • What friendships were tested last year? How can you improve them this year?
    • Are you open to new friendships? If not, how can you become more welcoming to new potential friends?
    • Who do you usually sit with at lunch, play with at recess or walk the hallways with?
    • Why do you choose that person or those people?
    • What makes a good friend or a bad friend?
    • Who do you want to be good friends with at the end of the school year?
    • What should you look for when trying to find a new friend?
    • How would you go about trying to make a new friend?
  6. Discuss how your child defines bullying and how they will address it when they see it in school or online. Ask your child:
    • How would you respond if someone made fun of you, called you a name or tried to put you down?
    • What are some other ways you could respond, and how might those responses have a different effect?
    • Can you come up with a good response that would defuse the situation and change the subject in a positive way?
    • Would this work if you saw someone else being bullied?

By discussing these points with your child, you can hear their viewpoints and steer them in the right direction for the upcoming school year. Don’t limit such discussions to just once a year, though; keep the lines of communication with your child open and periodically revisit topics such as their goals and challenges. This way, you can check in on their progress, as well as provide encouragement and guidance when needed.