December 19, 2011 ~
As families gather and the New Year approaches, many people reflect on what has passed and what is yet to come. Here at Kumon, we do the same thing. As we look forward to 2012, we would like to share some tips for productive reflection along with highlights from our 2011 article series on parenting.
How is the first half of the school-year going for your child? Whether it has been smooth sailing or rough waters, take a minute think about how the next year can be even better. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Re-evaluate Activities. In our January article, “Declutter Your Way to Productivity,” we suggested taking a step back to reflect on hectic schedules in order to prioritize what matters most. There is a lot of pressure for children to commit to countless after-school activities, so achieving the right balance between home, school and extracurricular involvements is more important than ever.
- Maintain Relationships With Teachers. How is your relationship with your child’s teacher? As we suggested in the March article, “Maintaining Momentum in School,” good communication with your child’s schoolteacher is paramount to your child’s success in the classroom. If you haven’t had a chance to check in and speak one-on-one, set up an appointment as soon as possible. Teachers want you to stay involved.
- Reward Achievements and Progress. In February’s “Honor Roll – More Than Just a List of Names,” we discussed the benefits of establishing rewards as a way to help keep your child encouraged and motivated. If you are using a reward system, how has it been working? Have you been able to stay consistent? Does your child respond well? If you feel good about the system you have in place, keep going! To keep it new and exciting in 2012, think of new ways to encourage your child. Be sure to check out the tips in the Study Smart Sweepstakes photo album, which you can find on our Facebook page. Go to www.facebook.com/kumon, click on the Photo tab to the left under the Kumon profile picture and then click on the Study Smart Sweepstakes Entries album. There are a lot of great ideas that came directly from parents just like you.
The end of the year is not just an opportunity to reflect on your child’s progress; it’s also a great time to reflect on your progress too. Being a parent is a full-time job, and it can be tough to give yourself the care you deserve. Carving out five minutes to look inward may be all you need to spark a new idea and to face the New Year feeling fresh and optimistic. If you need help getting started, take an inventory of how you’ve been doing in these areas highlighted in our past articles:
- Disconnect From Tech. In the April article, “Mental Spring Cleaning for Parents,” we encouraged taking time away from the techno-babble that can pollute our daily lives. Emails, social media, TV and the Internet can eat hours away in what feels like only minutes. By taking time away from the bombardment of technology, you will free your mind to focus on other important tasks or to simply be quiet and calm.
- Rituals of Gratitude. Gratitude is often center stage in holiday traditions, but what about the day-to-day? Do you keep a gratitude journal or think about the positive things in your life each day? What happened in 2011 that you feel deeply thankful about? Look back to our November article, “Rituals of Gratitude,” for more ideas. Reflections on gratitude will encourage optimism and lead you into 2012 feeling good about all the possibilities before you.
- Take Care of Yourself. At the end of the day the most important thing is taking time out for yourself. When you are strong and happy, you are able to give more to your family. In April’s “Time Management Tips for Parents” article, we suggested that that taking time for yourself is actually a habit of good time management. A little bit of time to de-stress can lead to an incredible boost in productivity because you will feel refreshed and ready. If you struggled to get “me time” in 2011, set a goal to give yourself the care you need in 2012.
These tips are just the beginning. As you start to reflect on this year, let your mind wander, write some of your thoughts down and stay focused on the positive. The New Year is the perfect time to continue habits that have worked well and to start fresh in the areas that need help. Involve your whole family in the process of reflection and turn it into an opportunity for bonding, learning and growth.