Prepare your kids for the new school year

Kids need more than a backpack and new clothes to have a good year in school. Here are three things you can do to psychologically prepare your children to have a successful academic year.

Create realistic expectations: Don't mislead your kids into thinking that learning is always enjoyable. Don't ask your kids, "Did you have fun in school today?" Instead, ask them about what they learned or how they dealt with some of the drama that is an intrinsic part of getting along with other people.

Help them understand that teachers are not entertainers. Their jobs are to help children learn, which can be exciting at times, but also tedious, too. Prepare your children to expect and accept both parts.

Expect a strong effort: While success in school is important, recognize that not every child has above- average academic ability. However, you should expect your children to work hard and achieve at a level consistent with their talents.

Kids who succeed in school have a high degree of self-control. They learn the benefits of delayed gratification. You can encourage your child's self-control by restricting television and computer usage during the week, and reviewing your student's exams and homework. Let your child know that school performance is very important.

Focus on your child's development in all areas: Our children learn lots of important lessons in school other than how to solve math equations or write a book report. Psychologists call these other abilities "emotional intelligence," and they involve key skills in communication, problem solving, self-control and interpersonal relations.

Ask your kids about how they resolved a disagreement with a peer or teacher. Discuss how they responded to another student being ridiculed. Help them acquire an emotional resiliency to deal with failure, persistence when confronted with tough situations and a positive outlook.