Peacefully Preparing Our Children for School: A Conversation with Mimi Pomeranz



How can we help our children succeed in school, while fostering a peaceful environment for them? Mimi Pomeranz, certified parenting coach and JWRP sister, recommends helping our children nurture a love of learning, seeing conflicts as opportunities for growth, and connecting to our children through empathy. In our conversation, Mimi shared strategies for making our morning routines calmer, as well as the importance of relinquishing control.

How can we help our children transition back to school?

The first step is asking them how they feel. Sometimes we jump to conclusions about how our children are feeling based on our own past experiences or their previous school year. Instead, dive into their world and try to see their situation from their point of view. Only then can you begin helping them.

How can we make our morning routines more peaceful?

Situations are always more difficult to deal with when we’re in the heat of the moment. Be proactive and create a plan for your mornings ahead of time. First, talk to your children about what they need to do in the morning and what they’d like their mornings to look like. Ask them what’s most difficult for them and how you can help them. For example, you might be able to help them pack their backpacks or lay out their clothes in the evening. Invite your children to be part of the solution. If things don’t go according to plan, refer back to your conversation and talk about what you decided together. Each morning, things will get easier. Most importantly, try to stay regulated and to keep things in perspective.

How can we support our children in doing their homework?

As always, we need to begin by showing our children empathy. Have a conversation about how they’re feeling. Perhaps they don’t enjoy the assignments, they feel stressed, or they’re not interested in the content. Talk about your children’s challenges and ask how you can help them succeed. Become their coach, but do not do their homework for them. While it may feel difficult, it’s also important to relinquish control. If they don’t turn in an assignment, don’t get mad. Instead, ask them how it felt to get a zero. Most children don’t want to be reprimanded in school. Most children want to succeed.

How can we encourage our children to go to Hebrew school?

When your children are young, you can just sign them up and see how it goes. Many children love Hebrew school because they have friends there. If your kids show resistance to going, ask them why. You may be surprised to hear their answers. Perhaps they find it boring or don’t like the other children. Try to find a solution together, which might mean switching them to a new school or finding a private tutor for them. If attending their particular Hebrew school is non-negotiable, you can set limits while still showing your children empathy and coming up with a solution together. 

How can we encourage our children to forge healthy relationships with their classmates?

When we can model healthy relationships with our children, parents, and friends, our children will pick up on our behavior. Talk about relationships with your kids. Ask them, how do you want to be treated? What’s the right way to treat other people? Listen to their answers. Make your home a place where your kids and their friends feel comfortable hanging out. Then, you can help guide their relationships, and if they have a friend who is not the best influence on them, you may even help shift his or her behavior!

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