New Year, New Attitude: Helping Your Child Start 2020 Right

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

One of the best things about starting a brand-new year is the pervasive feeling of a fresh, new beginning. For children who have experienced a bumpy start to the school year and adopted a negative attitude as a result, the new year is also an opportunity to hit the reset button and change the attitude. Here are several tips on how to help your child start 2020 off right: 

  • Get to the root of the problem(s). Maybe your child has had a difficult time in one class. Maybe he or she doesn’t see eye to eye with some teachers. Or perhaps a subject that went well last year has suddenly become difficult this school year. Start off the year with an open and honest conversation with your child. Resist any judgment and simply listen. Knowing what has led to your child’s feelings of frustration and negativity will help you develop a 2020 action plan that you both feel good about.
  • Set goals or revisit goals set earlier in the year. The goal-setting process is valuable in so many ways. It encourages students to think about things they would like to accomplish in the remainder of the school year, and it helps renew their motivation. Sit down together to review any goals your child set at the start of the school year to see how he or she is progressing. Adjust them as needed and discuss how your child will take steps in the coming weeks and months.
  • Reflect on achievements last year. If the start of the school year has been a little rough, it’s understandable why your child might feel down or negative. Point out your child’s strengths. Talk about a few of the high points of the first semester of the school year (and even the end last school year). Even small successes are worth noting.
  • Refresh your child’s perspective. A recent report card with across-the-board bad grades is certainly grounds for concern, but it isn’t the end of the world—and it certainly isn’t a problem that cannot be fixed. Remind your child that talking about these issues and making a plan to correct them is the first step toward turning things around.
  • Instill resilience in your child. In school (as in life), problems arise all the time. The more you can teach your child to learn and grow from difficult times, the stronger your child will become. Remind your child that when confronted with challenges, he or she should take a deep breath, believe in him or herself, and persevere. That grit is a trait that will serve your child well in life.

Lastly, it is important that you have a good attitude about school as well. Your child witnesses how you react to and talk about school, and it rubs off. If your child is struggling, he or she likely feels worse about the situation than you do. Be positive, action-oriented, and most of all, supportive. Let your child know that education is important but his or her well-being is even more important. Together, you’ll make this year a great one. 

Huntington is here to help your child achieve his or her best and regain that self-esteem. Call 1-800 CAN LEARN to talk about how we can help your child make this year his or her best one yet.


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