School starts WHEN??
As you clicked your Google Calendar I think I heard a collective gasp at the fact that summer is mostly over and we are supposed to be gearing up for another school year. Personally, I would like to report a theft, because someone has clearly stolen June and July because it cannot be August already. So…what do we do now?
Well, for starters, as soon as possible we need to be getting our kiddos back into a routine that more closely resembles the time schedule of school – particularly the getting up part. Sleep deprivation is one the most common issues for adolescents and young adults. Between friends, sports, entertainment, gaming, social media, computers and cell phones our kids are up in some way shape or form way later than we ever were at their age. Even when we theoretically send them to bed, I know I hear voices coming from my kiddos room, so she’s either Facetiming or entertaining a ghost. Working with you kiddo on setting a realistic sleep schedule should also address the time they’ll taper off of technology. I could link all the research about blue light and circadian rhythm impact, but I can hear your kid’s eye roll from here. Just make it happen. Phone prison is no fun for them, nor for us so the goal is them to understand and agree.
This is a good time to also talk about what a successful school year looks like. I think this point is often missed by parents with college kids because it can look so different. As a parent whose kiddo has some learning challenges, success looks different depending upon the class. All As is not necessarily a sign of success. WHAT? Yep, you heard me. What if that success is because they barely sleep, are absolutely neurotic about their grades, they never spend time with friends – yes, maybe that looks like academic success, but it came at the expense of other aspects of their whole self. Finding balance in all the areas of one’s whole self is the goal – for our student(s) and ourselves. Ask your kiddo what that may look like this semester. It could yield a really neat conversation – especially if you break it down into multiple areas (ie. each class, involvement, work, friends, etc.).
Being clear with expectations makes communication much easier. Communication is already hard at times between parents and adolescents/young adults, so anything we can put into play to make it easier is welcome. Given anxiety is the most prevalent mental health issue seen in this population as well, we should look to all avenues that can make things less stressful. Another way I help diffuse potential anxiety is to have my kiddo help develop the outcomes if expectations are not met – rather than punishment, I ask what should the repercussions be? If you have a job and don’t reach a sales goal, there is an outcome/repercussion. By involving her in the development of those, she is both more invested in reaching the expectations we’ve set together, but she also is not surprised with the outcome if it is missed. And YES, it’s also okay to set outcomes if they go beyond expectations as well. Some folks are internally motivated, so are externally motivated. Try to find what works best for your kiddo.
I could go on and on, but your head is probably already spinning. Just remember, you are not alone. LifeTutors is here. Our amazing life coaches and mentors can help you and your student better reach goals and life skills. In addition, our new College Achievement Program (CAP) can help your college student launch with all the skills and tools necessary to transition into and through college with a solid balance of academic and socio-emotional success. Reach out to us today!