8/3/2011: School – Start the year off right!

The end of summer find most of us in the same scenario each year: the kids are growing bored and ready to return to school, and the parents are ready for the same! Before you know it, we’ll be weeks into a new school year again.

Why not approach this year with more intentionality than in the past? You could choose to set individual and family goals for the coming school year. Many adults have experienced goal-setting through work, sports or hobbies. Setting goals can be just an important for children! Organize a family meeting to discuss what each child and parent hopes to accomplish in the coming year. These goals should be age appropriate and reflect what the child wants, not just what the parent is expecting.

Use the following questions to initiate your family discussion:

  1. Ask your child to identify specific goals; i.e. improve their math grade, try an advanced placement class, make honor roll or read a certain number of books during the year. These goals should be high, but also realistic.
    1. List strategies and actions for accomplishing each goal.
    2. Choose how a successful outcome will be evaluated.
    3. Present appropriate rewards and consequences for meeting the goal.
  2. Explore how other family members can support the child’s pursuit of each goal.
    1. Ask the child to describe how they would and would not like to be assisted.
    2. Suggest ways in which you can be supportive.
  3. Discuss how to ask family members for help when needed.
    1. Help the child articulate when a family member’s assistance is welcome.
    2. Discuss how the family can help keep the child on track for their goal.
    1. School Education Sessions
    2. IEP/Section 504 Advocacy
    3. Scholarship Assistance
    4. Recommendation Letters
    5. College Search
    6. Career Counseling

Regardless of the age or grade of a student, communication between parents and children is the key to success! Good communication is not being controlling or overprotective. Students need a measure of freedom to explore and experiment in order to identify their strengths, interests and abilities. Provide your child with a standing invitation to open dialogue for discussing their hopes and desires for the future.

Remember that the IHTC is here for assistance. The IHTC career counselor is available to provide the following services for any age child, regardless of grade or stage of life.

Contact the IHTC Career Counselor if you have school related questions or concerns: (317) 871-0000.

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