7 Ways to Boost School Success in the New Year

By Dr. Rick Bavaria


Happy New Year! We’re kicking off the new year with the next installment in our monthly checklist series to encourage school success. The holidays are over, and you’re ready to ensure your child is starting 2017 with a determined attitude, with energy, and with your support. Our suggestions are here in the January checklist:


1. Make new goals.

It’s a new year, so make new school goals. With your child, review and revise the goals you wrote together in September. What have you accomplished? Celebrate these achievements! What still needs work? Encourage, support and cheer your child on. Let them tell you what they think is important, and listen.


2. Make resolutions for home.

Do you need to make adjustments to home routines? Homework time? Study time? Bedtime? Family time? It’s easy to allow some extra play time when grades are good. If grades flounder, it’s easy to tighten up. It’s all up to him or her. Work with your child to make any necessary changes.




3. Make resolutions for school.

What about school adjustments: Paying attention in class? Eliminating distractions? Following directions? Participating in class? Turning in homework? Best efforts, done neatly? Being responsible? Hanging out with helpful friends? Have a conversation with your child about how they can improve in the classroom, and make a plan to follow through on it.


4. Make resolutions for extracurricular activities.

Build their confidence by encouraging after-school activities. Try out for the school play. Go out for the soccer team. Volunteer in the library, the gym, or the health suite. Extracurricular activities build new friendships with kids of like interests and abilities. They’re also the best way to explore new interests and indulge curiosity. (“I wonder if I could learn all those lines? Seems hard, but I think I can do it.”)


5. Make plans for snow days.

Play in it, of course, but also resolve to keep up schoolwork. Check the teacher’s or the school’s website, Facebook page, or phone tree. Spend the “found time” of a snow day to work on long-range projects like that book report or the science fair. Consider adding something fun, like serving hot chocolate.




6. Get help if you need it.

Don’t mess around with this one. If you notice she needs extra help in math, reading, writing, or any subject, it’s best to address the issue now. Don’t wait. Get a tutor. Do before- or after-school sessions with a trusted teacher or an accomplished peer. Have study buddies. Host home study sessions – spring for pizza, it’s a good investment – on days before quizzes, tests, and projects. Check in on them periodically, but kids learn well from each other, especially when they’re having fun.


7. Stay determined.

When kids know we’re involved in their schoolwork and aware of important due-dates, they realize we adults are there for them when they need us. They also realize they can’t fool us (at least not always). Your determination will be contagious.