Help your child to set the agenda for 2014

The long awaited 2014 is here. I know that you have had a lot of fun with your dear children. In a matter of days, the new academic year will commence and as usual you will hand over your school-going children to the school authorities for the resumption of studies.

The long awaited 2014 is here. I know that you have had a lot of fun with your dear children. In a matter of days, the new academic year will commence and as usual you will hand over your school-going children to the school authorities for the resumption of studies.

As you prepare to take them back for studies, it is advisable that you help them set the agenda for the new academic year. This is one way through which you will be able to empower them with the self-driven approach to life. Challenge them to share with you what they intend to achieve in academics, sports and life skills this year.

Let them set goals that they would like to attain. It should not be just a matter of saying that they will excel, they ought to mention to you the strategies that they will put in place to achieve excellence. Show them the significance of cooperating with their teachers and consulting them frequently right from the first term. Many learners relax in term one and two thinking that they can concentrate in the third term and excel. This has proved to be counterproductive as many of them end up performing below their potential.

There is need for you to assure them that you will be in close touch with their teachers to be updated on their discipline and academic progress. When they realise that you would like them to account for their conduct and performance in studies, they will be compelled to style up and excel.

You should ask them to tell you the textbooks that they may require for personal research at school. They should not rely entirely on the school library because some very important books may not be available. In case they do not know the titles of such books, you may consult the subject teachers for guidance before buying them.  Most bright students do not excel as a result of relying entirely on the material given by the teachers. Textbooks help learners to widen their scope of understanding subject content.

If you have not been checking the books of your children while they are at home on holiday, it is high time you started doing this. Let them know that you want accountability by checking whether they have organised subject notes and that they do class assignments. When they realise that you are strict on such issues, they will become more responsible.

Another aspect that should be top on the agenda for this year is active participation in sporting activities. Many students do not attach value to sports. They think that such activities are just for fun. There is need for you to encourage them by emphasising the benefits of sports such as developing talent, socialising and keeping fit. You can start by buying them sportswear for the games that they love. Make them aware that you want them to excel both in academics and sports. You may also consider meeting their sports teacher for a brief chat about their options and progress in sports.

If you only talk about their studies, they may think that you have a low opinion about their participation in sporting activities. Remember that some of your children may be capable of becoming famous in sports. Therefore, you should provide them with the necessary support.

You should also encourage them to develop life skills this year by doing community service. Let them participate actively in public clean-ups, helping the poor, disabled and the sick. Life skills development will help them become conscious of the needs of society and learn more about responsibility.

As a torchbearer, your work is to flash the torch for them to see beyond the horizon.

Happy New Year 2014.

The writer is a teacher at Riviera High School

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