Back to School with Assets!
Over the next few weeks, thousands of Sussex County Children will begin their 2016-2017 school year. Whether it is your child’s first day of Kindergarten, middle school or high school, this is an exciting time where many opportunities, experiences and life lessons happen! Do you know what your child needs to succeed in our fast paced world? Search Institute provides a wealth of research, tools and publications for parents, educators and for other adults that strive to make a difference in a child’s life. Search Institute released a framework of Developmental Assets, these assets are identified skills, experiences, relationships and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults. With over 5 million students surveyed, data has consistently demonstrated that the more Developmental Assets young people possess, the better their chances of succeeding in school and becoming happy, healthy and contributing members of their communities (searchinstitute.org.) Research also tells us the more assets a young person has, the less likely they are to engage in risky behaviors such as alcohol and other drug use, acts of violence and early sexual activity.
Any caring adult can help build assets within young people. A simple smile, asking a curiosity question, calling a child by their name and seeking their option on a community problem are all super easy ways to start building assets. Check out Search Institute’s Framework for Developmental Assets to learn how you can continue to build assets within the youth in your community. Search Institute has identified 40 Assets needed for early childhood, children in grades K-3, middle childhood age 8 -12 and adolescents age 12 – 18. As the school year begins, be sure to equip your child with Assets and help them reach their full potential. Check out below for a few more tips from Search Institute on how to help youth succeed!
In your home and within your family:
- Post a list of the 40 Developmental Assets on your refrigerator door. Each day, do at least one thing to build assets for each family member.
- Spend one hour a week alone with each of your children. Take a walk, listen to music, cook together or just hang out.
- Empower your child by providing choices. Have regular family meetings to plan, solve problems and encourage one another. Rotate who leads the meetings.
In your neighborhood and community:
- Learn the names of the young people who live around you. Find out what interests them and ask them about it!
- Try to organize a babysitting swap with a neighbor. It’s important for parents and guardians to have time away from children, doing things they enjoy alone and with other adults. This will make family time that much sweeter.
- Get involved in the community and advocate for developing meaningful opportunities for young people, such as volunteer projects and civic activities.
In your school or youth club:
- Plan asset building activities as part of the curriculum or program. For example, engage young people in service-learning projects, social skills trainings or reading for pleasure.
- Assign students and participants activities that encourage family sharing, perhaps about family traditions or family goals.
- Take a field trip to a nursing home or senior housing complex. Have students perform a concert and afterwards socialize with residents and learn more about them.