Start in the Summer to Ensure School Year Success

School busIs it really already that time…to start thinking of “Back to School?” Unfortunately, the answer is “yes.” It’s definitely not too early to start planning for your child’s success for the coming school year.

As a teacher for the past eighteen years and the father of two (11 and 16) I have dedicated a big part of my life to helping young people reach their full potential, to find confidence in themselves and to reach success in their lives.

As parents, we want our kids to have wonderful school experiences. We want them to learn a lot, get good grades, get along with their teachers, and make meaningful social connections. So, take time over the summer to discuss next year’s expectations. Talk to your child about what they want for next year, and express your desires for them as well.

Your discussion should incorporate what happened last school year, both the successes as well as areas that need improvement. When you identify what went well, show your child how to continue to ride that wave for continued success next year. As for the areas that didn’t work out so well, take the time this summer to figure out what needs to change for next year.

Time For Big Changes

It’s not good enough to say, “You didn’t do your homework last year. This year you need to do it.” Instead you must help your child first buy into the importance of getting their homework done: “Did you like missing out on the class party last year? How do you feel about your grades on your report card? Do you think you practiced math enough to be as successful as you want?” Then, figure out what needs to change next year: “Let’s make a new agreement. You come home after school. Get a snack. You can have some screen time. Then by 4:00 screens go off and you finish your homework before dinner.”

Time For a Few Tweaks

If your child had an okay year last year, talk to her about how to take it up a notch, how to take it to the next level: “You hung in there last year for English class with a B-. I think you can pull an A next year. You read two novels last year. Do you think you can read four this year?”

Time To Enjoy The Spoils Of Success

And, if your child just rocked the school year, inspire him to continue that momentum come fall: “You had a great school year, last year. What do you attribute your success to? Well, let’s see if we can’t keep that up this year.”

Building Confidence

This summer, you’re going to want to instill confidence in your child for the upcoming term. That means you are going to have them visualize their success by year’s end. Map out a plan of action to reach that goal over the upcoming ten months. If you need to create a new schedule together to ensure success, this is the time to do it.

Stand United With The Teacher

And don’t forget prepping yourself for the upcoming year, as well. That means, no matter who your child’s teacher/s is/are, be prepared to back them up. As a veteran in the classroom, I know that sometimes parents feel as though teachers pick on their children. The truth is, we don’t! If we are telling you there are issues, it’s not because we don’t like your child. It’s because we want your support to help address the issue. Even if you don’t particularly like your child’s new teacher, back them up. The moment your child senses a division between authority at home and school, they know they can work one side against the other. So, back up the teacher and discuss the best ways to help your child.

This summer should be filled with camps, trips, swimming pools and lemonade stands, but don’t wait until the last moment to prep your child for the upcoming school year. If you start early and do it right, next year can definitely be a breeze, a summer breeze.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, Author


About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter is the founder of and the author of four books, the latest titled “Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting.” He is an elementary school teacher, the father of two girls (11 and 16) and has been married to his college sweetheart since 1992.

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