Frequently at our school, we share with parents some discussion points they can use to open up dialogues with their children.
An example of this is asking the question how do your children manage their own states of mind?
The following are the top 7 discussions you need to have with your middle school aged child so they can get the most out of their time and life at school.
# 1 How does the student organize his or her time?
Time management is challenging for all of us, especially for middle school children. When you have all the time in the world, how do you meet deadlines, prioritize tasks and accomplish what you set out to do? Children need to know about the value of time and the unique nature of it. Imprint on your children how important it is never to waste time.
#2 How does the student set up their work/ study area?
Where does your child study? Is it free of distractions and tidy? Having a dedicated location for studying and doing work with all the equipment necessary is essential. How effective is doing work on the bed?
#3 What music do they listen to when studying?
There is much research about music, the brain and the connection to focus and concentration. What does your child listen to, is it helping them or hurting them? Have this conversation as their choice in music may be the distraction that is keeping them from doing their best.
#4 What are their sleep habits and do they get enough sleep?
Sleep is often seen as an optional thing, but every day I see students coming to school sleep deprived. Adolescents need more sleep than adults, but in most cases, they are not getting it. Encourage your children to remove their electronics and to have a consistent bedtime and wake up time. Developing good sleep habits is critical.
#5 Does your child understand nutrition, how being properly nourished affects the brain?
You can’t control how your children eat when they are not with you, but educate them on the importance of proper nutrition. Better yet, set the example yourself. Get lots of vegetables, nutritious proteins and fruits into your diet.
#6 Do you emphasize single-tasking i.e. working on one thing at a time?
Emphasize the importance of doing one thing at a time. It is not possible to watch television and do quality cognitively demanding work. Focus and concentration are essential to performing well. Stress this and ask your children to dedicate their time to one task at a time.
#7 Do you encourage them to turn off social media and other distractions during study times?
I doubt anyone can argue that social media is not going to help when attempting to focus on a single task. Put the phone in another room and turn off notifications on your computer.