Back to school

29 June 2011

Is it difficult to go from “carefree” August to “back to school” September for children and parents? Even kids that look forward to returning to schools must adapt to new schedules and the needs and requirements related to school life. So it is important to consider the mental and emotional needs of our children during this transition period. Good mental health allows children to socialize properly, develop their spiritual abilities and build their self-esteem.

We should keep well in our minds that each child has its own pace in adjusting and because of that parents should be supportive with them and treat them patiently.

Let`s go over some problems that usually arise during the first weeks of school and see how we can recognize them and deal with them.

 First of all we should be excited about the upcoming change in your child`s life and show it. When you express your happiness, it makes your child feel good and most of all it makes it feel safer.

 Prepare yourself and your child. Notice the way your child reacts to separation. Start talking to your child about life at school and remind it of the upcoming school’s requirements. Also talk to your child about the things that make it happy, such as friends and other things and activities it likes. Try and prepare both you for the upcoming change.

 Sit together with your child and redefine rules for going to bed at night, times of its daily meals (especially breakfast). Explain to your child the importance of being organized and having a schedule where the entire family knows who’s doing what and when during the course of each day. Also, talk to your child about the importance of resting during the day and how this will help in its school life.

 Reduce the time it spends watching TV. Encourage your child to play quietly with toys such as puzzles, game boards and books. This way your child will stop this passive activity of watching TV and will become involved in more stimulating activities. Day by day, your child will eventually understand that it enters into a new routine, different than the one it was used to during the summer.

 Make any school shopping together with your child and do it promptly. This will make your child feel that it participates in the school routine and not that is being left our of the entire school preparation process. Be careful! Some teachers have specific requests regarding school materials and aides. Keep your receipts handy in case you have to exchange things you have bought and avoid spending more money.

 Together with your child design its study place. Keep in mind, that young children require supervision where older children look for quietness and privacy.

 Get a calendar and note the important dates and events of your child’s school life. This is an ideal solution for those parents who have more than one child in school. This way you will always be punctual to your obligations and consistent with your child since you will not be missing on anything regarding school.

 Finally, together with your child try solving practical issues such as routes and timetables. This will discharge both parents and children. Working together brings the best solutions.

 Starting school in a good mood and prepared means that the child will look forward to the next day of school instead of trying to avoid it.

 In the morning be brief to your child when with your “goodbyes” but also soft and sweet. Your child should understand that it is time to leave and go to school. Never make fun of it if it cries, but be understanding and let it know “that you know it is difficult to part, but by noon you will be together again and it can tell you everything that took place in school and the new things it has learned....»

 Once your child gets back from school discuss its day and listen carefully to what it says without being distracted by any housework.

 Soon as your child gets its new books, leaf through them together with your child, tell it how much excited you are and hint on things stimulating interesting discussions.

 Every night before bed time, make sure you set the alarm together with your child and prepare for next day wake up.

 The night before school, prepare your child’s snacks together with your child and make it a part of the school process.

 Arrange an off-school hours “get together” with your child’s classmates and friends, either at home or at some public place. This way your child will come to better know the other children it will be spending so much of its time with. Furthermore, your child will realize that you stand with it and will release any tension it feels.

 Praise any good practices your child has acquired from school. Show how pleased you are when your child does well in school and provide alternative solutions to any problems it may come across.

 Try to be as supportive as possible instead of being pushy, especially with teenagers. Show your child that you`re there for it in anything it might need help with. Do not be excessive in your expectations! Keep in mind that each child has its own limits, strengths and capabilities.

 Remain calm and positive so you can troubleshoot any problem occurs. Especially the parents of those children who have received bullying in schools must be prepared for a possible fear or denial of the child. Admit the fear of your child and talk to him. Treat all with encouragement and cooperation with the school.

 Remain calm and composed to any problems or difficulties your child might come across. Especially parents of children that have suffered bullying in their school should be prepared to deal with their children’s fears and refusal to return to school. Acknowledge your child’s fear and talk about it. Deal with it by encouraging your child and be seeking assistance from the school.

 Stay in frequent contact with your child’s teachers. Inform them of any issues may arise and be updated about your child’s behavior in school. Make sure your child understands that both you and its school are there for its own good!

 Finally, show interest in your child’s school activities and try to be present at all major events your child participates in, such as festivals and voluntary work, games etc. Try and develop communication channels between your child and yourself as early as possible in order to grow a mutually trustworthy ground to and deal with the upcoming and challenging issues of adolescence.

Happy School Year!!!