Summer vacation is coming to an end very soon and our children will be heading back to school. Many children spent their summer doing lots of fun things, swimming, going to the beach, visiting relatives outside of town, going camping or to amusement parks, venturing into historical areas of our nation and abroad, while other children may have had a more relaxed time spent at home, playing video games with friends or going to see an occasional movie.
Many learning opportunities may have presented themselves during the summer and it’s important for parents to always keep their children motivated to learning new things. Even a trip to the local library can be both fun and educational.
With only another week or so before school starts again, some parents feel a bit anxious if their only child is starting kindergarten while other parents are looking forward to their children going back. But are your kids ready to go back to school? Here are a few suggestions ….
1. Get you children back on a good sleep schedule. Now is a good time as it takes at least 3 days for them to get comfortable and used to new hours. Children 5 to 10 needs 10-11 hours of sleep and children 11 to 15 needs at least 9 hours at night.
2. Make a list of what’s needed if not already purchased. Schools provide parents with a list of all the supplies that they will need for that particular grade level along with uniforms, shoes and dress code. Take a look to see that you have everything ready for them. Go thru the list with them and explain if needed the purpose for certain items.
3. Now is a good time to get a haircut if needed. Many children love to get a new hairstyle at the beginning of the school year.
4. See that your child has received all immunizations. Double check with the school district in your area or the Health Department if you have any questions.
5. Decide if your children will ride the bus, walk or ride a bike to school or if you will drive them. Carefully explain to your children the rules that they are to follow. Warn them against being distracted or approached by strangers. Help them to feel confident in any situation, the more information they have, the better able to handle a situation should it occur. If necessary, role play first at home. This may help them to remember what to do in a particular situation.
6. If you can, visit the school ahead of time especially if this will be a new school for your child. Many schools have certain days when you can come in and visit the school, meet the teachers and see their classrooms. This is so helpful to the children as well as to parents. Most schools have ‘open house’, sometimes that may happen once the school year has started or it can be a few days before so check with the school.
7. Give them a good breakfast in the morning. This will help them be more alert, have more energy and overall have a better attitude. Explain the importance of healthy food so they can make good choices at lunch time.
8. Speak to them about issues they may encounter at school such as bullying, harassing or fighting. Go over the school safety rules with them and reassure them that you will be there if there’s anything they want to talk about. Encourage them to be a friend and make good friends, to treat everyone with respect.
9. Today many students have cellphones not just in case of emergency but as a way of life. This may help parents feel less anxious about the safety of their kids but ultimately it is up to the parents to determine if your child should have a cell phone. Of course, always abide by the school rules.
A new school year, new friends, new opportunities to learn. Let’s make it easy for them to go back to school. Tell them they should always do their very best and that you love them no matter what.