Centennial Middle School Counselor's Presentation to 6th Grade Parents
Students at all levels in middle school may experience fluctuating levels of anxiety, not only at the start of a school year, but sometimes throughout the year. This is a natural response to changes in routine, academic expectations and in individual growth and development. Additionally, inherent temperament has an enormous influence on the level of anxiety children experience when faced with new situations. As parents, we have a lot of influence on the degree to which our children cope with issues of anxiety. Two key strategies that parents may utilize to assist their child are: a) employ good listening skills and b) provide reassurance in your child’s inherent ability to cope. Our tendency as parents is to try to problem-solve for our children, when the best practice is to listen to their concerns without judgment, and to guide them to solutions. Most often, they really need to feel as though someone understands their situation, and simply listening is the most effective way to communicate this. This act of listening also communicates that you trust in your child’s ability to cope with most situations and is reassuring to him/her. Phrases like, “ It sounds like you know what to do”, or “I know that you can handle this” or “I trust that you will do the right thing”, can be very empowering for your child. Of course, if heightened anxiety persists and starts to interfere with sleeping, eating or focusing, reach out to a professional such as a school counselor, psychologist, or social worker for advice.
Suggestions for a Positive Homework Experience:
We are all aware of research that both supports and refutes the benefits of homework. At Centennial, we see the value in assigning homework as a way to practice and refine skills, but more importantly, it is a way to create a culture of discipline around consistent study skills.
Here are some guidelines that we like to provide to families in order to make homework hour less stressful:
1) Establish a regular time and place for homework in your home. This can be tricky with after-school activities, but the daily habit of a “homework time” is crucial for school success. No T.V., phone, cell phone access during homework time!
2) Maintain this regular homework time Monday through Thursday (weekends as needed). Even if your child is coming home stating that he/she has no homework, make this a regular time devoted to organizing, reading, studying for a test. This takes away the power struggle of “do you” or “don’t you” have homework by establishing a regular time no matter what.
3) At every grade level part of the homework expectation is that your child should read for at least 30 minutes every night.
4) Have materials such as pencils, rulers, calculators, paper in an accessible location. .
5) Set the expectation that your child write assignments in their planner and bring the planner back and forth every day between home and school.
6) Have the child establish a regular “study buddy”; someone they can call if they are unclear about an assignment.
7) Check Infinite Campus with your child at least once each week to keep track of missing assignments and due dates.
8) If your child has a large amount of homework any given evening, make sure that they take a short break when needed.
9) Finally, it is important to be aware that some children believe that they learn something only when an adult is in the room. To prevent this, do not get in the habit of sitting down with your child as they do their work. It is fine to “help” and then walk away, so the child is doing the work independently.