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Come August, there's a change in the air, the days grow shorter,

back to school sales are everywhere (back to school mattress sales -really??), and we start to think (worry?) about the upcoming year- Will we be alright alright? What challenges will we face? Did I do enough? Will they do well? Has s/he fallen behind? (Whatever that means)What about friends? Teachers? And the list of "will they" and "what ifs" goes on and on.

So often we are concerned about the new school year...maybe last year was difficult or wasn't all you wanted it to be. Maybe it was great and you think that this year won't measure up. There are thousands of maybes - but here's a gem that will make the next year (and, actually, the rest of your life) worry-free. Realize that you write your own story. At any given moment, you have the opportunity, the power, to change the outcome. Things may not go your way but how you react is on you. There are so many examples for this in all walks of life - Einstein, Michael Jordan, Keanu Reeves - find someone who inspires your child. Hold him/her up as an example.

Here's the thing: You make the choice that's best for you and your family and then trust in yourself. Have faith that it will work out.

And, put your best foot forward to ensure that your child(ren) thrive. Give your kid(s) lessons that will last a lifetime - the things that are not taught in school. Lessons of adaptability, resilience, confidence, and, yes, even courage.

You are the architect of your family. You set the tone, model the behavior. Our kids will be stronger for this.

"The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can." Neil Gaiman.

What hasn't changed is the need to prepare to go into this year. Along with new backpacks, pencils cases, masks (or not), disinfectants, and hand sanitizers, preparing your kid(s) to be and do their best is key.

Here a plan of action to ensure a successful year:

I. Have your child identify what s/he thinks is going to be the biggest challenge to overcome this year

It doesn't matter if you agree or not, giving them the power to voice what they are worried about is cathartic.

2. Set goals together.

Then, with your child, come up with a plan. What steps need to be taken to reach their goals?

Include 1 or 2 action steps or strategies to use if and when they face a challenge. Write specific steps down. These have to be steps your child feels he or she is able to implement.

3. Have a morning routine

Make sure it involves breakfast. Starting the day with calm and purpose follows a student throughout. The importance of breakfast has been well documented. There are many things you can do to alleviate the morning stress - getting proper sleep, laying out clothes and lunches the night before, having a breakfast "menu", no screen time (TV, computer/tablet, phone) - but it comes down to having a routine. And a start to the day "routine" that involves skipping breakfast, adding stress, chaos, and mayhem (I'm thinking back to getting my 4 dressed and out the door on time) definitely steps on one's zen.

4. Homework Time

Make it your child's responsibility. Set up a regular time and specific space, *free from distraction (tv, phone, etc). Once established, and the habit is built, there's an end to much of the homework battles.

*Some of us work best with music or white noise in the background.

5. Ban the Negative Talk

Eliminate phrases like "I can't", "It's too hard", "I don't get it" , "I can't help it", "He made me." "She doesn't like me." Replace them with phrases that empower your child. "I need help figuring this out", "It challenging". Figure out a plan to help your child take responsibility for his/her behavior - to navigate or remove themselves from situations that tend to drag them down - and watch them soar!

6. Be Involved

Your child’s teacher will be a huge part of his/her life for the next nine months. Establish a positive relationship with your child’s teacher from the start, one that respects each other's boundaries, and maintain an open dialogue. Fit school functions into your schedule, if at all possible. Attend back-to-school nights, volunteer (find out school policy) if/when you can. If schedules do not allow you to be there in person, be involved through supportive notes and phone calls. Kids thrive when they have a team behind them - you and your child's teacher(s) can be that team.


Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I help parents:

1. Not a member of the Encourage Greatness private Facebook community?

Click here to join. We'd love to have you!

2. Schedule a BREAKTHROUGH SESSION today. We'll look at your goals, the challenges you're facing, opportunities you might be missing. We'll also uncover hidden problems that may be sabotaging your desired results. You'll leave the session feeling renewed, re-energized, and inspired to get results faster and easier than you thought possible. And you'll have a plan of action to do just that.

3. Get coaching, accountability, and support as you go through the ages and stages of parenting. Click here to join the Encourage-Greatness Inner Circle Membership Program.

4. Get mentored by me. Every year, I have a limited number of spots for support and mentorship on a private, VIP day - a virtual meeting dedicated to setting up a plan for you. We'll not only have a plan of action; you'll have implementation steps, accountability, and support to see it through. It all starts with a phone call. Click here to start the process .

"Action is the foundational key to all success." Picasso

"If you are feeling overwhelmed and need some support in the parenting department, Mary Kerwin will help guide you. She’s an educator with decades of experience based in NYC but she has online offerings too. Check it out. She’s pretty awesome." .~Claudia L., mom of 3 and entrepreneur

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