10 POINT PLAN TO HELP MY CHILD ACHIEVE SUCCESSms Shandré OttoNorman Henshilwood High SchoolJanuary 2011
1. Know your child • Mom and dad must be the first to know when something is wrong • Stay plugged in, watch closely and start a conversation when your child appears to be struggling with something • Look at your child everyday. Hair, uniform, palour, eyes, mouth, posture. You will only know if something is wrong with them physically if you know what they look like when they’re well. • Give your child space to grow and discover things for him/herself but don’t let them wonder off too far. Keep reeling them in and letting them go. • Be sensitive to what is happening in their social life, with their extra-murals, academically and spiritually. 2. Practice reflection with him/her • If we never look back how will we ever know whether what we are doing will work in the future • Talk your child through the last six months in terms of academics, extra-murals, social life, etc. What is there that they can improve on? • An important part of achieving success is reflecting and feedback from people who care about them is the food of champions. • Definition of insanity = doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results 3. Require something of your child • Set a minimum standard in your household and do not negotiate on what those basics are. • If we can focus on getting the small things right, the big things will fall into place automatically. • Don’t accept mediocrity in anything your child does • Insist that they adhere to what you believe to be the way things should be done. • Don’t allow them to settle for their own second best, always insist on their very best in whatever they do
4. Remain involved in NHHS • You should attend every meeting, every function, every PTA • Pay your school fees, offer to do something (however small at the school or for the school) • The only way our children will value education in general and NHHS in particular is if they can mirror the value their parents place on these • Please e-mail your child’s teachers and/or Grade Head with any questions, comments, concerns, suggestions, requests for updates, etc. • You have not only the right, but the responsibility, to know what’s going on at school. 5. Encourage your child to set realistic goals • As adults many of us know about short-term and long-term goals • Working out a “Plan of Action” once our goals have been set • Drawing up time-lines to ensure that plans stick to a set of achievable dead lines • The process of decision making, planning, implementation, reflection and then starting the process again. • These are steps your child will need help with • Ensure that the goals set are those that your son/daughter want – not mom or dad’s dream • Ensure that your child has set goals that are truly achievable for him/her, one small step at a time 6. Monitor progress and celebrate achievement • Check your child’s homework and school diary daily • Listen to the orals and the presentations • Talk about the research project and the test that’s coming up • Once you know that a project was handed in or a test was written, do a post-mortem at home on the day • Once the piece of assessment is handed back, check it and sign it. Talk about how well or how poorly your child has done • Parents are encouraged to sign their child’s note books and files. Leave a little note for the teacher or just sign and date the page once you’ve read through some of what they’ve done in class. • Find a reason to acknowledge when your child has achieved something wonderful. Celebrate the A’s and B’s yes, but also celebrate the 10% improvement from one test to another.
7. Allow them to make mistakes and mess up • Teenagers are going to make mistakes along the way, we all did. • Your child needs to know that you will not be judgmental or overly critical when they have done something wrong or not achieved a goal they have set for themselves • Mom and dad need to be the safe place to fall, the people that I can go to when I feel lost or down • Be there to pick them up, dust them off and to help figure out which way from here 8. Set boundaries and say “No” sometimes • You are the parent and it is absolutely fine, indeed it is imperative, that you lay clear boundaries and parameters in which your child can live, work, learn and play. • Part of knowing your child is knowing what his/her downfalls are (too much television, cannot get away from the PlayStation, he/she is a FaceBook junkie, they’re on Mxit until 2 in the morning). You need to put structures in place to combat/deal with that. • Establish certain non-negotiable family/alone/free/study times for your child. • Negotiate chores and “going out” times 9. Pray with your child • It is not enough to only pray FOR your child. We must pray WITH our children also. • We model certain behaviours, certain life skills can only be learnt through imitating what one sees another do. • Lead by example and in offering different ways of talking /communing with God we show our children a whole new way of looking at the world. • Submission to authority begins with understanding that there is a being greater than I am who I can depend on and submit to.
10. Look after yourself! • When the wheels come off, as they undoubtedly will, for your child you need to be strong, alert and able to step in. • As an adult it is my responsibility to deal with my stress, address the personal/financial/emotional problems that I am dealing with. I cannot take that out on any of my children. • I need to know what my triggers are, what my stressors are and I need to put structures in place to combat them. • You cannot be there for your child, when he/she needs you, if you are over-worked, tired, physically ill, dealing with problems at work, battling financially, not in control of your life. • Please take care of the mommy and the daddy first. On an airplane the cabin crew always instructs passengers to put the oxygen mask over your own mouth first and then to assist children and other passengers. We must take nurture, heal, soothe, care for, tend to our own bodies, hearts, minds and souls before we can reach out to another individual – especially a child.