Yaaayyy!!! Finally, It’s Back-To-School time. Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement and anxiety. For seasoned Mums like me, we are more than relieved to let the kids fly the nest to the academic world that awaits them as we expect them to soar like the eagle. For new mums, this day is greeted by a lot of anxiety and uncertainty. Even seasoned Mums who may have to send kids off to Boarding houses may also be feeling the blues.
Regardless the category you fall into believe me, you may find some Back-To-School tips here come in very handy as this period can sometimes be very overwhelming for parents.
Here are a few tips to help your student establish routines for a successful school year.
RE-SET SLEEP PATTERNS.
The days of going to bed at 10:00pm because “the is no school tomorrow (in Toby’s Voice) are over! Ideally parents should wean children off going to bed late and establish sleep and wake-up times for their children at least one week before school starts. If you haven’t done so already, please start today. Resetting the children’s sleep patterns is crucial for peak and optimal school performance during the first class period and maintaining it until the bell rings to go home. You need to be firm to maintain the early to be sleep pattern all through the school year. Be bold. Be consistent.
SAFETY – A safety attitude is an essential part of going Back-To-School. Teach your young children to know their name and how to spell it, your telephone number and home address. Teach your child the proper way in advance to deal with strangers by refusing to talk to them or accept gifts and rides.
DISCUSS THEIR CONCERNS – Ask your kids if they have any concerns. Take time to talk to your children about the things they are looking forward to about school, if they are happy to go back to the same school, or the new school, their opinion of the school, teachers and school mates…that is if they are old enough o process these. Find out if anything may be worrying them. The start of school can be triggering both excitement and anxiety.
A candid conversation can help parents address issues in advance, including alerting the school, if necessary, to help ensure a smooth start to the school year.
DRAW UP A SCHEDULE AND IDENTIFY PRIORITIES: Are your kids allowed TV during school days? If Yes, What time to what time? You need to have a schedule that will be followed strictly. My kids are not allowed to watch TV Mondays to Fridays during school session. They watch only on weekends. What is the place for Football games, dances, playing video games, social media, homework, sports, extracurricular participation and friends as these are all part of each school year?
Does academics top the list of priorities? When is homework to be accomplished? After school? Before dinner? After dinner? What is the duration? 60 Minutes, 90-minutes or 120-minutes? Establish a routine and stick with it!
MEET THE TEACHER
I just called up my kids’ teachers as they returned with their class memo as they usually do on the first day of the term or session. I will make out time to see them before the week runs out to put a face to the name.
Ensure you meet your kids’ new teachers even before the Open Day, which is the official meeting day for Teachers and parents. Establishing a relationship with your children’s teacher is not so that you become best of friends and your kids receive preferential treatment, as this seem to be what some parents have in mind. It is so the academic goals that you have set for your children will be accomplished as a team thereby helping them reach their full potential.
SET UP A HOMEWORK TIME AND STATION
Sit down with your child and together designate a time and place where homework would be done each day. This can be somewhere quiet like in the dining, bedroom or living room. Make sure to choose a time where you are available in case your children need your help.
CREATE SCHOOL FILES
Don’t be like me that would forget important days like PTA, Career day etc till I get a reminder call. Memos begin to drop in from today. As they bring them in FILE THEM! Look through them during the weekend to update yourself of the activities of the coming week. This is the strategy I am going to employ this session to save myself some embarrassment!
SET ACADEMIC GOALS
Establishing well-defined goals is one of the hallmarks of a champion. Each student needs these academic goals with corresponding strategies and tactics for reaching them. Set goals for each class and hold your student accountable.
Parents must establish some well-defined academic goals and hold their children accountable. The path to achieving them are obvious: paying attention in class, taking the time to carefully complete homework assignments, and asking the teacher questions if the student has trouble grasping a lesson.
Our children want to pursue extracurricular opportunities that match their interests, including sports, band and robotics. There are numerous clubs, activities and programs available at school.
My son wants to be in Cub Scout even though I prefer Taekwondo Class. He also wants to do more than one after school activity. As Parents, we have the responsibility to help children manage their time effectively to be able to participate in activities outside the classroom without seeing a decline in academic performance or undo stress.
STACK UP ON STATIONERY
You know the frustrating feeling when you get home from work late, say it’s 9:00 p.m. only to hear Card Board Papers, Glue or Scissors is needed for one homework or project due the next morning and you don’t have at home! Save yourself the extra stress after a long hard day in traffic; prevent late-night freak-outs by purchasing these items ahead and in bulk if possible.
ALLOW FOR FREEDOM OF CHOICE
For those with older kids, there comes a time when we allow these kids to make certain choices while we guide those choices as parents. What After School activity does your child want to engage in? Does your child want to be in the Science, Art, or Commercial class? Does your child desire extra coaching? We need to allow them some level of freedom of choice without being permissive.
HEART TO HEART TALK
As parents, we should have a heart to heart talk serious talk with our children about Child Sexual Abuse, Bullying, Kidnapping and any other threat to children prevalent in our environment. For children with smart phones and tablets, parents need to monitor their social media activity, including the apps they download and the people they are interacting with online.
There are numerous examples every school year of young people getting into trouble for their social media use.
Another important subject that should be discussed is Bullying. Parents should make it clear to their kids that bullying is unacceptable behavior. Children being bullied or witnessing bullying should be encouraged to speak to a trusted adult.
If you have young children below age 5, ensure they are up-to-date with their vaccination. Remember how easy it is for young children to pick up contagious diseases from their peers in school.
These vaccination coverage and protect schoolchildren from vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the state.
As parents we have the sole responsibility, accountability and the authority to oversee the education of our children.
We can become best friends with them later in life. For now, we are the guides, mentors and coaches and most importantly, PARENTS! We therefore must be consistent in fulfilling this role for optimum result.
As Parent we may not always be the coolest person to them especially when we insist on the set rules and schedules discussed above but never mind, just be firm and resolute, it will reap dividends at the end of the school year and in their life at the end of it all.
Do you have other tips you may want to share? Please drop them in the comment sections.
Wishing you all a successful and fulfilling 2017/2018 school year. God bless and protect our lovely children!