December 21, 2014

All About Kids—Envisioning a Successful School Year

 

School is just around the corner, a mere two weeks away, and time spent preparing for a positive school year, a Super-Duper* year, is time well spent. Last month I discussed setting intentions and now we are ready to clarify the steps needed to see the intentions become part of your child’s daily life.

The following activities are fun and can be creative activities that engage the entire family.

GOAL SETTING

After your child creates his or her own list of intentions, they can move on to the step of setting goals that reflect the intentions. For example, if one intention is to eat healthy foods, a goal can be “I will pack a healthy lunch for school each day.”

Children can create goals for each of the balanced-day areas: self-care, home/play, creative and school time. They will feel good when they accomplish their goal and perhaps they can earn a small reward at first, like a sticker on a sticker chart.

These visual reminders help develop habits and eventually your child will be self-motivated. Goals can be short-term or long-term and it is important to teach children the value of both types of goals. This will help children approach the school year with the ideas for accomplishment and success.

Remember the excitement of gathering new school supplies, the fresh smell of a new backpack, notebook, a new box of crayons and finely sharpened pencils? Children of all ages enjoy preparing for school because the year is a blank slate full of possibilities.

As your children prepare their new school supplies, encourage them to think about what they look forward to this year. Then help your children list some goals for the immediate future, goals that can be reached in a day, such as completing homework, near future, those reached in a few weeks, such as a long-term school project, and the distant future.

Goals for the distant future are more difficult for children, but allowing your children to dream of their future and potential careers might serve as inspiration to learn the skills now that will be needed later.

In a few months, you and your child can revisit these goals and make modifications based on the new routines and assignments and developing interests. Learning to make changes and modifications is a useful practice that can carry over into other areas of life and reinforces the benefits of being flexible.

CREATING A VISION BOARD

The next step in this process is to ­­­create a vision board. This is a small poster that children can decorate with photos, drawings or magazine pictures that depict their life, as they would like to see it. Some pictures might be of people they admire; some might be of activities they would like to do, such as planting a garden; a sport they would like to practice; or simply images that give them a good feeling. Other pictures might be of places they would like to travel to or pictures of nature that make them happy. The vision board can be embellished with words that motivate your child, such as “You can do it!”

Creating a vision board can be a fun family activity. In my family we often do this on New Year’s Day, but creating a vision board is a great way to begin any new time period.

When you block out some time to gather together around the kitchen table and begin browsing through magazines, you will notice that spending this time together will inspire conversation and appreciation of each other’s creative talents.

Some materials that are helpful for creating a vision board are a piece of poster board, glue or glue sticks, some magazines, photos and images can also be printed from the computer and art materials such as felt-tip markers, stickers and decorative stick-on shapes.

­­Your child can cut out pictures and words that have meaning to create a collage on the poster board. When your child is satisfied with the arrangement, use a glue stick to attach the words and pictures. The vision board can be hung up or displayed in a room where it will be seen when they (you) wake up in the morning and remember what their (your) goals are. It is also fun to look at the vision board occasionally but especially toward the end of the year to notice how creating it impacted the year.

It is another way to check in and realize that we have the ability to create our own success.

Taking the time to help your child create meaningful goals and to make a picture representation (vision board) can have a lasting impact. With your positive encouragement and gentle monitoring, your child will feel your love and support that will help him feel self-empowered.

Get ready for a great school year!

*For further information and templates in a workbook format for the above activities, see Amy Wesiberg’s book on Amazon, “How to Have the Best Super-Duper School Year Ever!”­­

For questions or comments, please send e-mail at amyweisberg@completeteach.com, with “Ask Amy” in the subject line. I would love both feedback and questions!