August is here and with it, the start of another school year.
Coming off the 2020/2021 classroom ups and downs, we thought it might be worthwhile to share some thoughts from experts on how to prepare your school-age children for their return to the classroom.
Begin with the Basics
The upcoming school year may bring some uncertainties, but one thing is sure – the basics of preparing your child for the new year will always be important. Here are three great tips from KC Parent Magazine.
Start Preparing Early
The sooner you start, the easier it will be. Make a list of everything you need to do before school begins. The list can include everything from meal prepping and school supply shopping to haircut appointments and sports physicals.
Back to Bedtime
Slowly moving their bedtime up a half-hour per week until they are back to their school night bedtime will be a painless way to ease children back into their normal sleeping routine. When you bump up their bedtime, bump up their wake-up time, too.
Skip the Store
Thanks to Target’s School List Assist and Amazon’s School List program, school supply shopping has never been easier. Simply find your child’s school and class supply list online, match the list to the items you would like to purchase, add the items to your cart, check out and wait for them to arrive on your doorstep.
Start the school year off on a healthy note with these suggestions.
Getting Enough Sleep
By far, the most important school health issue for most children is getting enough sleep - about 10 to 11 hours a night for elementary school-age children. As mentioned above, start adjusting their sleep habits before school starts. Once it has begun, work to set a consistent time schedule for dinner, homework, and bedtime.
Despite the time and effort, you put into sending your child off with a gourmet lunch, don’t be surprised if it comes back untouched. Eating in new surroundings and under tight time constraints can make some children’s appetites evaporate. Focus on providing a protein-filled breakfast. With a little bit of fat and fiber from complex carbohydrates, they will be ready to start the day.
Yes, More Hand Washing
The first day of school brings new friends, new activities…and a bunch of new germs. That’s why good hand-washing habits are critical for school-age children. Children (like adults) need to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom and before they eat. You might also consider sending them to school with a packet of antibacterial wipes. They’re not as effective as soap and water, but they may have more appeal for young children.
A Healthy Perspective
Most students (and teachers) had a scholastic roller coaster ride over the past year. It’s only natural that a new school year also brings with it some things to consider as a parent.
Try to schedule time each day to talk with your child about their school day. Focus on their social/emotional learning as much as their coursework; exploring how they are coping with problems, their self-confidence, and their interaction with other children.
Building a strong relationship with your child’s teachers is more important than ever. Take part in all teacher conferences and open houses. Schedule one-on-one time with their teacher to discuss any concerns or issues you observe. Your child’s teacher is your partner in the educational and emotional success of your child.
Relax but Stay Alert
It’s easy to become a helicopter parent when it comes to our children. More than ever, it’s understandable to be overprotective and anxious for your child but hovering too close can have a negative impact on their confidence and coping skills. Yes, stay involved in their school progress, problems, and performance…but give them room to make their own way. Step in when needed but stay away when possible.
Here’s hoping the new school year is a wonderful experience for you and your children. Stay well.