This is the time of year when parents and students get out their back to school list of school supplies or summer assignments. However, there is a different kind of back to school checklist that teens and their parents should also be concerned with. This is the checklist of social skills your kids should develop for the upcoming year.
We don’t really teach manners as a part of our lessons. However, at school as in most places, having manners really is advantageous. It’s not because of some ideological standard. Good manners really do help teens get farther. Saying please and thank you and excuse me, especially to adults, can go a long way in winning them over. This is especially true of teachers.
So, if a teen lacks basic manners or has gotten out of the habit of using them, get back in the habit! And, if you’re a parent, then be sure to model that behavior.
Schools are tough places. Teens have to please a lot of people, many of which have very different goals and agendas (e.g. pleasing a teacher vs. a peer). However, one way a teen can win over other people is to build rapport with them. This is simply getting to know someone. The easiest way? Talk to them and ask them questions.
This is especially effective with teachers. They are human too and most teens forget that. Teachers like football, shopping, and other topics that kids also find interesting. They need to talk to them about topics of interest and establish a real relationship and communication.
Practice rapport building with your kids. Ask them about their lives and tell them about yours. You both will likely even learn something!
Lots of kids go back to school scared to death. And, for good reason. School is intimidating, both socially and academically. It’s important that your kids have high self-esteem. This is much easier said than done, of course. But, you can help your kids develop confidence by giving them things to be confident about.
Teach them skills and give them activities they can excel at. True confidence comes from being excellent at something. While it might not be possible to do this with a few days left, start encouraging your kids to get involved in activities and sports. Don’t force them to follow your dreams. But, guide them into excellent things they love.
So, while you’re getting supplies and doing all the last minute things like shopping, don’t forget about the social skills your kids need too. They’ll help the year go much more smoothly.