“Some students are natural self starters and organizers, while others need your help creating a system to stay on track,” says Dr. Stuart Lustig, a child psychiatrist and medical director for Cigna's behavioral health business.
This could be a calendar in their school binder or a checklist.
Following up is important, Lustig says. “Some kids need their parents to check their progress.”
suggests scheduling a time when your student will do homework. “Most kids need a one- or two-hour cool-down period after school, but don't let them postpone homework until late at night,” Lustig
If your household has two parents, determine which parent will help with which subjects, and build that “help time” into your schedule.
If you think your child might have difficulty with certain subjects, line up tutors early in the school year so your child can start off strong. “Don't wait for a bad report card and feelings of failure before getting help for your child,” Lustig
Every child needs balance, so consider what non-school activities your child might want to pursue. “Don't over schedule, but don't let your student get away with doing nothing.
Give them options,” Lustig
Find out early in the year how your child's school addresses bullying, and which adults your child can turn to for help. “Although everyone needs to learn how to cope with difficult people and bad situations, no child should ever be bullied,” Lustig
Start a conversation with your child today about bullying.
Lastly, if you think your child might need mental health services, schedule an appointment now for an evaluation.
Schedules for child psychologists and child psychiatrists fill up fast, so it's better to schedule an appointment before the need becomes urgent.
For the parents: Being the mom or dad of a student of any age can be stressful, so be sure to take care of yourself, Lustig advises.
Many employers offer an employee assistance program (EAP), often through their health plan, which can provide short-term counseling for stress, depression or anxiety.
An EAP counselor can also help you find child care, elder care and other services that can improve your work/life balance.
These services are free to the employee and they're completely confidential.
“If your employer offers an EAP, use it!
It's there to help you,” Lustig