Honestly? Advice Abounds!

My friends at VolunteerSpot.com have been collecting advice and tips for parents from notable bloggers all over the internet. So, I asked myself: Self?  What advice would I give parents at the beginning of the school year? hmmm…..

I am a parent, and I know I always welcome advice when it comes to organization, time management, life balance, homework strategies, building independence in my children, and supporting the school in a way that encourages active learning… I am a teacher, and I have plenty of strategies to share when it comes to these topics.  Following my own advice isn’t always easy, though!  Crazy, huh?!?

Apparently, composing a post for parents is feeling a bit more challenging than I thought it would be.

Though my first impulse is to write about the incredibly underestimated value of sleep – I will simply say to spend 60 minutes reading all the latest research on the topic.  You might even stop after 30 minutes of Googling, just to put your kids to bed early.  Seriously.  Sleep is so unbelievably necessary for kids and adults alike.  Please don’t brush by this paragraph, thinking I’m a crazy lady.  Though you’ll soon learn I am a bit crazy, I’m thinking clearly after 8 solid hours of sleep!  You’ll hear me write more about this essential topic during the school year.

Instead?  My earth-shattering advice to parents?

Be honest.

Yes.  I said it.  Be honest.

Be helpfully honest with your children, their teachers, and yourself.

Not brutal, insensitive, careless honesty.  The message of honesty is lost when one is hurt or hurtful.

Not evasive honesty.  Specific honesty is necessary for growth.

Not end-of-the-year honesty.  If the message comes too late, change is nearly impossible.

Not mistargeted honesty.  Giving an honest message to the wrong person doesn’t help.

Share your honest, constructive, helpful ideas and feedback, so that we can all work together to make this year an amazing one.

:) Please be honest with your children.  Every student, in every classroom, has something which needs improving. Whether that “something” is fluency, or penmanship, or math, or behavior, or motivation, or maintaining attention, or appropriate socialization…. it doesn’t matter.  Be honest about their strengths, so they can use them as a foundation to build on. Be honest with your child about what he or she needs to work on.  Be honest about the fact that everyone struggles in some ways, and succeed in others.  Be honest when the work gets hard – let your child know that work IS hard and give them strategies to accomplish their goals!

:) Be honest with teachers.  I can say, as a teacher, each year I focus a lot of energy on becoming a stronger, more effective teacher.  I develop my own skills and build my knowledge base so I can better meet the needs of my new little friends.  Honest parents help make that job easier by letting me get to know them and their children.  If your family is struggling at homework time, tell me – I’d love to help!  If your child is coming home, or heading to school in tears, please tell me – we’ll work together to develop ideas to change that.  If you’ve lost the lunch menu for the third time, or forgot that the permission slip was due, or left the backpack at the babysitters, let me know.  We’ll have a good laugh and figure out a solution together.  We both have the same goal in mind – a positive, successful year for your child.  Honest communication will help us achieve that goal together.

:) Be honest with yourself.  Life is complicated… and challenging and busy and exhilarating and rewarding.  Sometimes Life at Home affects Life at School.  If you need support, ask for it.  Whether that support comes from those of us at school, or from your family and friends, or from community support programs, it is important to reach out when you need it.

Honestly?? I am so excited for the school year to start.  I have lots of new ideas, old traditions, and summer stories to share with my cute friends in September.  Three is a Magic Number, and I can’t wait to go back to Third Grade again!

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Comments
  • Kathy:

    Wow…no one could have said it better. And, honestly, I’m so proud of you for addressing what people need to hear about “honesty”. And, more importantly, being such a dedicated, much needed and loving teacher/Mom.

    • Suzy Brooks:

      Thank you so much, Kathy! I appreciate your kind words and the fact that you took the time to leave a comment. You made me smile!

      Take care,
      Suzy :)