09/06/2012 10:47 am ET Updated Nov 06, 2012

Expectations For the New School Year

The school year is beginning and hopefully your child is ready, but are you? What kind of expectations do you have for this school year and how will you manage them? We all want our kids to grow both academically and emotionally as the year progresses, but there are almost always bumps along that road. How you will handle those bumps is something worth thinking about now.

First, don't be afraid to keep your expectations high. If you're optimistic about what your daughter can achieve, share that with her. The words I believe in you can mean a lot more than You're smart. Being told they're smart (or the best) often puts pressure on a child. It also makes them feel insecure if they can't figure out an assignment. (Well, if I'm so smart, how come I can't do my trigonometry homework?) If you truly believe your child can achieve anything he puts his mind to, let him know it. Sky's the limit.

Be sure to check in with your child as the year gets into full swing. I know, I know. More often than not, the answer to What happened at school today? is a resounding Nothing. You can't force kids to share their day with you, so try to be patient. Eventually they'll tell you something. And if they don't, try to gauge their mood when they return from school. Temperament and actions speak volumes.

If you hit one of those bumps in the road, be sure to check in with your child's teacher, guidance counselor, or tutor if he has one. They are directly involved with your child most days and may be able to offer insight and/or solutions that hadn't crossed your mind. After all, they truly know the answer to the What happened at school today question!

If you're stressed about this school year for whatever reason, your child will be too, so try to keep your anxiety to yourself. Kids really sense when parents are feeling nervous or unsure and it's often contagious.

The start of the school is year is chock full of possibilities. Take some time to think about how you'd like the year to go and don't be afraid to dream big. But at the same time, be realistic and check in with both yourself and your child as the year unfolds.