It’s almost time to head back to school, here are some helpful tips to ensure your kids have a productive and happy year!
- Ask for Help: You don’t need to wait until the first day of class to address any concerns you or your child might have. Schools are open, teachers are usually accessible in person or via email, and staff is available.
- Providing Comfort: Many children get nervous about new situations, new grades, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. Bring your child to school a few days prior to class to play on the playground and get comfortable in the new environment.
- Find another child in the neighborhood your child can walk to school or ride with on the bus. Maybe consider having an ice cream social at your house or a meet up at a park.
- Attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.
- Choose a backpackwith wide, padded shoulder straps, a padded back, and enough room.
- Organize your child's backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
- Remind your child to always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles and create back/neck pain.
- Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits at your child's waist.
- Check with the school if they allow a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice if your child has a heavy load. Please note: rolling backpacks still must be carried up the stairs, may be difficult to roll in snow, and may not fit in all lockers.
- Review the basic rules with your child and practice any new routes or modes of transportation.
- Remind your child to wait for the bus to completely stop before approaching it from the curb.
- Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case somebody does not stop as required.
- If the school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. Your child should not move around on the bus.
- If your child has a chronic condition that could result in an emergency on the bus, make sure you work with the school nurse or other school health personnel to have a bus emergency plan. If possible, do this before the first day of class.
Eating at School
- Studies have proven that children who eat a healthy breakfastdo better at school. They have better concentration and more energy. Some schools provide breakfast for children; if yours does not, make sure they eat a breakfast that contains some protein.
- See if you can get the cafeteria in advance, so, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
- Many schools have meal plans which allow you to pay for meals through an online account. Your child will get a card to "swipe" at the register. This is a convenient way to handle school meal accounts.
- Make sure to always provide a refillable bottle of water. Clean the bottle each day.
- Start your child on their school sleep/wake schedule at least a week ahead of time so that time change is not a factor on their first couple of days at school.
- Getting enough sleep is critical for your child to be successful in school. Children who do not get enough sleep have difficulty concentrating and learning as well as they can.
- Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night. Having a bedtime routine that is consistent will help your child settle down and fall asleep. Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, and tucking them in and saying good-night to them.
- Have your child turn off electronic devices at least a couple of hours before bedtime.
- Try to have the home as quiet and calm as possible when younger children are trying to fall asleep.
- The optimal amount of sleep for most younger children is 10-12 hours per night. and for adolescents (13-18 year of age) is in the range of 8-10 hours per night.
Build Good Work Habits
- Create an environment that is homework- and study friendly. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is clean, quiet, and without distractions.
- Make sure your child’s schedule has enough time for homework. Build this time into your choices about participating in after school activities.
- Establish a rule that the TV, phone, and other electronic devicesstay off during homework time.
- Be available to answer questions and offer guidance, but never do their homework.
- Take steps to help alleviate back and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to stop for a few minutes to stretch and have a healthy snack.
- If a particular subject is challenging, speak to their teacher for recommendations on how to help your child at home or at school.
- If your child is having difficulty focusing on or completing homework, discuss this with your child's teacher, school counselor or health care provider. For general homework problems that cannot be worked out with the teacher, a tutor may be considered.
- Some children need extra help organizing their homework. Create checklists, to do lists or charts to help overcome homework issues.
- If your child needs help remembering their assignments, work with your child and their teacher to develop an appropriate way to keep track of their assignments. Consider an assignment notebook.