OLYA FESSARD JULY 2017
GETTING OFF TO THE RIGHT START
Just a few more weeks of summer remain, so it’s time for back-to-school preparations! Getting your son or daughter ready for re-entering the regimens of academic life is important, because it provides a
positive orientation for school. It provides your child with expectations based on accurate information. This helps make your child feel more comfortable during her first days, so that she can pay attention and learn correctly from the start. It will give your child confidence so that she can adapt faster to a new teacher, a new classroom, or a new school.
It can be a daunting task when you start to think about the long list of things to do in order to prepare her for school. Yet, it can be even tougher on kids making the transition, so here are some steps to help you and your child get organized for back to school:
Battling the Butterflies
As with any new or potentially unsettling situation, you will need to help your child adjust. Remind her that everyone feels a little nervous about the first day of school and that it will all become an everyday routine in no time. Kids Health suggests, “Emphasize the positive things about going back to school, such as hanging out with old friends, meeting new classmates, getting new school supplies, selecting extracurricular activities for 2017–18, and showing off new outfits (or cool accessories if your child has to wear a uniform).” Talk about her worries, and offer her reassurance.
Plan Before You Shop
Most private schools in Middle Georgia require uniforms, and many public schools have dress codes. So make sure you are familiar with your school’s requirements, then plan and buy accordingly. Before shopping, take the time to empty the closets and drawers to assess your child’s needs. While you’re at it, clean and organize storage areas before the new clothes arrive. Although August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers, back-to-school clothing sales begin as early as July! Speaking of calendars, make sure to buy planners for yourself and your student(s).
Healthy Kids Make Better Students
It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical, hearing, dental, and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you will likely be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. So check your state’s immunization requirements, and always keep your own copies of any medical records.
Take Charge of Electronics
At least a week before classes begin, shorten the duration of his time spent playing electronic games, watching TV, and cellphone use. During the school year, it is crucial to limit the amount of free time that you let your child engage in those types of activities. Too much plugged-in time cuts into important activities in a child’s life, such as exercise, reading, playing with friends, and engaging with family members.
Reschedule Bedtime Before School Starts
During the summer, children aren’t always on a strict schedule, which is understandable. But, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your kids get sleep back on track by having them go to bed earlier and wake up earlier at least an entire week before school actually starts. “Sleep boosts the brain, says WebMD doctors, “While your kid is in dreamland, her brain stores memories from the day so she can recall them later. That’s a key part of learning. Your child also needs sleep to help her pay attention in school. If she gets her shut-eye, she’ll get her work done faster, with fewer mistakes, and hopefully with less of bad attitude.” The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep requirements for children:
- Preschoolers (ages 3–5): 10–13 hours
- School-age (ages 6–13): 9–13 hours
- Teenagers (ages 14–17): 8–10 hours
Make Homework a Priority
Find or create a quiet place at home where your child can consistently complete her homework. Remove distractions. Before he begins, have him set up all necessary materials in an organized fashion. This step will get him off on the right foot for future homework. Make it clear that education is a priority in the family.
Transportation & Safety
Do you know what time school starts and how your child will get there? If applicable, walk or ride the route your child will take, and make note of school patrols, crossing guards, and high traffic areas along the way. Talk to your kids about NOT talking to strangers. If you need a car pool, now is the time to get it organized.
Also find out what policies your child’s school has, and make sure your child is familiar with all rules and expectations. Parents should memorize rules regarding being tardy, sick, and the requirements for early arrivals, early dismissals, late pick-ups, and acceptable drop-off and pick-up areas.
Review Last Year’s Math Concepts
It is important to review so that your child can easily bridge the gap from last year’s math to this year’s. This is especially crucial if you’re child is advancing into a higher consecutive math class, like Algebra I to Algebra II. Spend 20 minutes daily reviewing the concepts that were previously learned, regardless of age.
Plan Afterschool and Extracurricular Activities Now
If you have access to school-sponsored extracurricular days and times, try to discuss and then plan in advance in which afterschool and/or extra-curricular activities your child will engage. There may be timing conflicts resulting in some tough decisions that will have to be made. For certain ages and certain personalities, it could be an overload to wait until the last minute, resulting in poor decisions.
Visit the School
Attend any information sessions and visitation days that the school offers prior to the first day of school. Many schools also have open houses or tours available by appointment. It is especially important to visit the school if you have an elementary-age child. When doing so, try to show him places where he is likely to spend time (classroom, lunchroom, gym). The more familiar he is with the rooms and the route to various places he will need to go, the more confident he will likely feel.
If it’s possible before the first day of school, meet his teacher. Find out the school’s entrance procedure before visiting your child’s classroom. Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher. Ask the teacher how he/she prefers to be contacted. (Some teachers are active on email and social media, while others prefer phone or in-person meetings.)
Most schools offer ways for parents to become more involved. Many schools will require certifications in order for parents to attend field trips. So find out how to get trained if that is of interest to you. If that’s not your cup of tea, there are usually other areas where schools would appreciate your help, like special committees that facilitate everything from fundraisers and parties to community outreach programs like food drives. #