Keith Nemlich

From R & R to R & E

I hope that for the past several weeks you have provided your child with some “R & R,” rest and relaxation time. The medical research is clear about the need for young children to recover from their hectic ten months of school. A regimen of rest, relaxation, and exercise, along with solid periods of sleep are critical for a growing body and mind. But as we move closer to the start of the school year, children need R & E from their parents – routines and expectations.

Routines are key to developing one’s capacity for responsibility.

Routines improve cooperation – When a child knows the plan, they can become part of the “solution”, not the problem. If they know that Wednesday is grocery shopping day, they can prepare themselves to be your helper.

Routines serve to reduce anxiety – When a child knows what is coming next, they can better prepare mentally and physically for this next event. Few of us truly like to be surprised.

Routines develop self-discipline and responsibility – When a child develops positive routines and is able to adhere to them, they are developing self-discipline and responsibility. A great place to start is around their bedtime routine.

Routines build confidence and independence – The development of even a simple plan, that is then followed regularly becomes a point of pride and positive recognition.

The combination of a parent’s vision and expectations can have a huge impact upon a child’s future achievements. Whether they successfully commit to twenty minutes of reading each night or are accepted into a competitive four-year college program, the expectation set by a parent is critical to providing that goal-oriented vision. Expectations serve to give a child a target or goal, which is especially helpful when they are not able to conjure this up for themselves. Sharing an expectation sets a bar, while alerting your child that you care and are very much aware of their actions.

So re-establish those school year routines. Help your child create a daily schedule that will aid them with their responsibilities as a student. And be sure to make your expectations plain and clear. Help them to see the possibilities of their future by sharing your hopes.

Keith Nemlich

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Quick bio – BA from Cornell University in the History of Art; MEd from Castleton State College in Curriculum and Instruction; CAGS in Educational Technology Integration from Penn State; recently completed the Waddington Leadership Initiative through the Center for Creative Leadership; taught 4th-8th grades for 12 years; technology administrator for 4 years; served on the state of Vermont math committee that wrote the grade-level expectations and was a member of the committee that created the NECAPs; husband to Pam; father to Chris and Megan; father-in-law to Rachel; grandfather to Jayden and Ava; loves being at Central!