Parenting help!

Listen up!

When your middle school student wants to talk to you, being "all ears"

has many benefits. Taking time to listen will keep your relationship

strong, increase his/her self-esteem, and teach him/her to listen to

others. Try these tips:

• Pay attention to signs that your child wants your attention. He

might linger nearby or ask if you're busy.

• If possible, stop what you're doing to focus on her. That way, she'll

know you're really listening. Hint: If you can't take a break, plan a

specific time to talk later.

• Repeat what you think he is saying ("So you don't want to be in

band next year?"). This will help him organize his thoughts and

follow up with more information. Plus, he'll know that you heard his


Starting out the new school year organized

Many parents are not sure how to best support their children academically at home. It’s hard to find the right balance. As parents, we want to start encouraging them to take more responsibility for themselves, but at the same time, they still need help, support and encouragement. Here are some tips to help support your student, especially if they seem to need extra help being organized.

At the beginning of the school year:

  • Take out all class disclosure forms and mark regular and long-term assignments on a monthly calendar. For example, if there is a spelling test every Thursday, mark it on each Thursday. Also, write down term projects, finals, etc. and plot action items backwards so you can help your student plan actions along the way leading up to the due date.
  • Make sure your child has all the supplies he/she needs for each class (most teachers will list these on their disclosure forms). Have duplicates of important supplies at home (pens, pencils, sharpener, paper, etc.). Other helpful supplies:
    • File folder, box or other storage spot for work you want to save.
    • Bin or space by the door to place all belongings
    • Goals and reward sheets posted in a conspicuous place
    • Post it notes and white-board with markers (the dry erase markers work great on mirrors too!)
  • Put your child’s name and phone number on all his belongings that will leave the house, such as school supplies, backpacks, clothing, etc.
  • Find out how to contact teachers and how to check attendance and grades on-line.
  • Designate a study spot. Remember that your child may study better with background music and/or may have to get up and move around in order to be able to focus.
  • If your child is likely to forget to bring books home, ask each teacher if he can keep an extra book at home.
  • Have your child clear out desk drawers and shelves of work, projects and papers from previous school years. Together, decide on what you would like to keep and make a portfolio of that work to be stored out of the way.
  • Designate a section near the entrance of your home for your child to put all his/her stuff.