Happy New Year! No, it’s not January, but in our world, September marks the start of our new school year, and for us, that’s a reason to rejoice.
September brings families back to familiar routines after the change of pace during summer. At Sacred Heart School of Halifax the school year is now well underway - course selections are settled, school photos have been taken, sports teams are competing, clubs and activities are underway, and curriculum nights gave parents insight into the year ahead for their children.
People often make new year resolutions in January, but we recommend them for September too. The start of the school year is a good time for students and parents to resolve themselves to establish good habits, regular routines, and a positive environment at home and school. Here are some ideas that might help:
Leave devices powering up overnight in the kitchen instead of in the bedroom. Make sure your child has a regular and comfortable place to do homework that is relatively free of distractions. Ensure they get proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Consider making a chart of privileges and responsibilities. Kids thrive when given opportunities to prove themselves, and it is important to design these so that they stretch children - but not to the point of utter frustration. “Match + 1” is a great general rule to adopt - meet them where they are developmentally, and then take up the expectations one notch (not ten).
Parents provide important role-modeling when managing their own distractions, disappointments, or blunders. We all have them. By owning these human realities, children learn they do not need to be perfect; they will develop patience with themselves and others as a result. Perfection is for the next life; here on Earth we are fully human and this is a relief!
When parents and teachers take courses, attend workshops, discuss current events, link present situations with history or prior experiences, then we instill in our children a value for life-long learning. When parents and teachers set down their phones, look a child in the eye, and patiently wait for the story or explanation, then we validate that child and their voice.
And one last lesson to share at the start of this new school year: the mental health of adolescent kids is improved when they perform community service. It’s why our social justice program is such a key part of our educational experience here at Sacred Heart.
We hope your new year is off to an excellent start, and that your new school year resolutions will serve you and your children well!