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School is back in session.

If you are reading this article then this is probably not your first rodeo. You’ve done this back-to-school gig before.

Parents, just like students, face the return to school with different feelings and emotions.   While some parents are glad to get their children out of the house and back in the routine, some are also dreading the routine that is just around the corner.

Homework, carpool, tests and quizzes, projects, uniforms, haircuts, lunch money, signing forms, early mornings, late nights…the list goes on and on.

As a student, I remember telling myself that THIS school year was going to be different.

I was going to study more, be more organized, get all my homework done and be the model student. Year after year, that was my ambition. Year after year, by October I was back into my old habits. I feel that some parenting habits follow the same pattern.

THIS year I’m going to make sure I stay on top of things.

Many of us, students and parents, set new school year resolutions, but by October we are back to our old habits.

I don’t have a foolproof way of ending bad habits and starting good ones. If I did, I would be a wealthy man! But if you are willing to try something new, here is a three-step process that might work for you.

1. Determine the one thing that you would like to do better this year. 

Is it communicating with teachers? Is it communicating with your child? Is it keeping better track of homework and grades? Is it getting more involved in volunteering at school? Is it time to stop hovering and time to try and let your child be a bit more independent?

This is an important step. Just pick one thing you want to do better this year, not two, three or four.

2. Use the reminder app on your iPad, iPhone, smartphone, or cell phone. 

Set a series of reminders that will span the school year. Set them for the first of each month, every other week, whatever you feel will work best for you. These will remind you to check in with yourself to see if you are sticking with your goal. If you are, great! If you aren’t, it’s time to recommit.

If you don’t have technology that will set reminders for you, call your child’s school counselor. Tell him what your goal is and ask if he would call you back on a specific date to check that you are following through with your goal.

3. DON’T share your objective with others. 

The research shows that the more you talk to others about your goal, the less likely you will accomplish it. If this sounds counter-intuitive, check out this 3-minute TED Talk.

Good luck with your goal setting and your start to the 2016-2017 school year.

Albert Einstein is attributed with the quote, “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”

I hope we will all be wiser by the close of year.

Paul Midkiff, Upper School Counselor