Back to School Tips From a Former Teacher

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0

This morning my oldest started middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL y’all. Honestly where does the time go? Yesterday, I got 11 emails from his teachers and as I sifted through them, one of them said “middle school is a whole different ball game for parents and for kids”. Nothing could be further from the truth but as I started thinking, I have something that most parents don’t- a degree in education. That’s what’s getting me through the beginning of the year! Here are a few tips I can give you to help your sanity and help your child be as successful as possible. 

You and your child are no different. 
Both of you have basic needs that need to be met in order to be successful. 

  • Food
  • Water
  • Sleep

That being said, here we go…

1. Breakfast, even if your child says “I’m NOT HUNGRY!” is super important. If your child isn’t hungry as soon as they wake up, that’s understandable. Wake them up a little earlier. They have to eat and something with protein is going to tide them over longer than sugar and carbs alone. At home, they can get a snack whenever they do get hungry. At school, they can’t and if they’re hungry, they get irritable, defiant and in trouble. They can’t focus on what’s being taught because all they can think about is the fact that they’re hungry.

2. Water. 
Did you know, according to http://www.healthychildren.org, a child 1-3 years old needs about 32 oz. of water a day to be hydrated. A child 4-8 years old needs around 40 oz and a child older than 8 needs around 64 oz. of water every day. This amount should be increased if they play outside when it’s hot, play sports or they are sick. Think about that. A child that goes to school does not have the ability to drink out of the water fountains because of covid procedures and they get maybe 8 oz. of milk at lunch. They MUST have a water bottle at school to be hydrated and again, focused on what’s being taught versus how thirsty they are. 

3. Sleep. 
One of the things I see most in couples I work with and what I saw in the classroom is that children do not have bedtimes. I cannot stress this enough. Children NEED BEDTIMES! Not only for parents to have time to connect, unwind and regain their sanity at the end of the day but also because just like food and water, kids are exhausted if they don’t have enough sleep and they’re either taking a nap in the classroom or they’re focused on how tired they are and getting antsy, moving around or causing trouble just to stay awake. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that a preschool child get 10-13 hours per night and a school age child get 9-11 hours per night just to function. Your individual child may need more depending on their personality. “Well that’s not possible with our lifestyle.” I hear that all the time. This may sound harsh but…change your lifestyle. Children don’t NEED to be in every activity known to man. They don’t NEED to watch TV when they come home for 5 hours before going to bed. They DO NEED enough rest and while we are at it, so do you. Studies have shown that adults are exceptionally more productive after getting enough rest or taking a nap than they are if they keep grinding just to check the boxes on the to-do list. 

Your time may be limited with them when you all get home in the evening but dare I say that time might be more precious and therefore spent more mindfully? 

4. Plan Ahead.
Lay out clothes the night before or even on Sunday for the whole week. Make lists, chore charts and morning routine charts. We used to write Mason’s to do list for the morning on the bathroom mirror in dry erase marker. I have a friend who sets alarms on her phone and the kids just know by week 2 what the alarms are for. Do everything you can in a systematic routine so that it becomes an autopilot thing and you don’t have to waste precious mental energy thinking about what to do next, what you forgot or yelling because your second child can’t find their other sock.

5. No. 
It’s a full sentence and doesn’t require explanation. You are not a bad parent if you don’t make the class parties, don’t volunteer for the class trip, and don’t let your child get involved with every opportunity that comes their way. Be strategic. We don’t allow Mason to play more than one sport per season because it’s too much, for him and for us. School comes first. If his homework isn’t done, he doesn’t attend practice. He knows what his responsibilities are and what his privileges are. Responsibilities come before extracurricular activities/privileges. 

6. Boundaries. 
When you feel like your poop is everywhere but in a group and you’re starting to get frazzled, it’s time to look at your boundaries. Most likely there aren’t any or they need to be reset. Boundaries aren’t to control everyone else. They’re for you, to say what you will and won’t stand for. They’re imperative in your marriage, with your children, your job and your life in general. Boundaries are THE THING that changed my entire marriage and life to lessen my stress, get rid of my anxiety and help me feel like my life is together. 

7. Pizza, Movies and GRACE.
The curriculum being taught now is so much more advanced than it was when I started teaching in 2007. The day is being packed more and more with things kids need to know and they’re getting less and less time to play, create and process that information. Knowing that, after a whole summer off to have fun and not think about school, this first week back (especially if it’s your child’s first week of school EVER) is a doozy to say the least! This weekend, do not plan a single thing. Pizza on Friday night and all. the. naps. this weekend. Your children are going to be exhausted mentally when they come home each day. This will get progressively better but also know that the end of the quarter is just as bad. Give yourself and your kids a lot of grace. The saying is true “there ain’t no tired like end of the first week of school tired” for the teachers, kids or parents. 

8. The most important 16 minutes of the day…

The first 4 minutes when your child wakes up, the last 4 before they get out of the car or walk out the door to go to school, the first 4 when they get in the car or walk in the door and the last 4 before they go to bed are the most important 16 minutes of a child’s day according to multiple psychological studies done. I cannot tell you how many times I put kids in cars where their parents were on their phone or otherwise engaged and didn’t even acknowledge their child. It broke my heart. A child wants to tell you about their day. They want to talk to you, to tell you they missed you and they want the same from you! They want to know they’re wanted, loved, missed and that you’re excited to see them! Use these 16 minutes to connect in a positive way! Tell them good morning and give them a hug and a kiss, kiss them goodbye, tell them to have a great day, ask them something specific about their day. What did you have for lunch? Who did you talk to? How were you a leader today? How did you brighten someone’s day today? Tell them good night. Read to them. Even if they’re in high school. Children stop loving to read about 4th grade because that’s when their parents stop reading to them. Connection is the one thing children and adults are missing the most in this world and we are so desperate for it. Take advantage of these 16 minutes.

If you need help with any of these, email me at coaching@recognizingpotential.com and let me know! My Back to Basics program focuses heavily on many of these topics to help families stop feeling like a runaway circus.

XOXO, 

Kameran 

Priorities

Last updated on: Published by: Recognizing Potential Coaching 0

Teaching Kindergarten full-time, tutoring on the weekends, coaching a full calendar, raising 2 boys, one being a 3 month old who still isn’t sleeping all night with a husband that’s gone 20-23 days a month, maintaining a thriving marriage, and engaged in a rigorous weight loss plan. I’m sure there are more hats that I’m wearing as well but this is the brunt of it. 

This is my life for another 115 days 20 hours 48 mintues and 47 seconds. Less than that by the time you read this. After that, I’m done teaching forever and I’ll only be coaching. I’m absolutely not complaining. I’m grateful! Excited! ..and maybe a little crazy. In the last couple weeks though I’ve been asked how I’m able to manage all of it and also why I haven’t put out a podcast episode since August 26th.

“Did you quit your podcast?” 

The answer is no. I’m still cranking out ideas and possibilities for interviews and trying my darndest to breathe life back into it but the long and short of it is that I’ve learned three important lessons since September 1. 

1. If it’s not giving me energy, fulfillment or income, it’s not a priority. 

2. Waiting until I have everything perfect before starting something only holds people back. 

3. I am not a robot. 

Number 1, it’s simple. Things that drain you of energy when your tank is already pretty rationed out in the first place have to go. They may not have to go to the trash but they do have to go to the back burner. This is a season, not a lifetime. I’ll pick the podcast up again when I have time and energy to devote to it. It’s also not generating fulfillment like coaching clients does. Anything you can do in times like this where it’s really just organized chaos and living day to day that breathes life back into you, do more of that! 

Number 2, I used to procrastinate things so badly thinking that if I could just have everything right and laid out perfectly before starting, I’d be more successful. That’s not how entrepreneurship works and honestly, it’s not how successful ideas come to fruition either. Ideas come to life and become a success because people jumped and then looked. You plan as you go, tweak as you go, believe in yourself more than you do the thing you’re doing and have faith that if you do the work, the venture itself will work. You just have to start! 

Number 3 is a lot like number 1. You can do all the things but I teach this lesson in my Younique course that it’s vitally important to understand that you CAN do a lot of things but you MUST do only one thing. The CAN DO things are often times distractions that prevent you from getting to that MUST DO because they’re comfortable. The one thing you’re called to do is often disguised as hard work, something you think you know nothing about or something that is so far outside your comfort zone you don’t believe you are the right fit for it. God called Moses to lead the people out of Egypt and Moses flat out told God he had the wrong guy. God doesn’t make mistakes. The key is deciphering between what you’re letting become a distraction because you’re good at it and what you’re truly called to do. One thing. NOT all the things.

What’s the priority here?

What is the priority? Figure out the priority and you find the “balance”. Though if you listen to my podcast from when I was cranking consistent episodes you’ll find that it’s more about satisfaction and less about balance anyway. 😉 

XOXO,
Kameran

P.S.-  Not sure what your ONE THING is that you MUST DO? Email me at coaching@recognizingpotential.com and let’s talk. I have something for you!