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Health Information For Parents
Whether their summer was jam-packed with activities or filled with complaints about being bored with nothing to do, kids often have a tough time making the back-to-school transition.
As with any new or unsettling situation — like starting school for the first time or entering a new grade or new school — give kids time to adjust. Remind them that everyone feels a little nervous about the first day of school and that it will be an everyday routine in no time.
Focus on the positive things about going back to school, such as hanging out with old friends, meeting new classmates, buying cool school supplies, getting involved in sports and other activities, and showing off new clothes (or accessories if your child wears a uniform).
It’s also important to talk to kids about what worries them and offer support: Are they afraid they won’t make new friends or get along with their teachers? Is the thought of schoolwork stressing them out? Are they worried about the bully from last year?
Consider adjusting your own schedule to make the transition smoother. If possible, it’s especially beneficial for parents to be home at the end of the school day for the first week. But many working moms and dads don’t have that flexibility. Instead, try to arrange your evenings so you can give kids as much time as they need, especially during those first few days.
If your child is going to a new school, try to arrange a visit before school starts. And ask if your child can be paired up with another student, or “buddy,” and if you can be connected with other new parents. This will help both of you with the adjustment to new people and surroundings. Some schools give kids maps to use until things become more familiar.
To help ease back-to-school butterflies, try to ease kids into a consistent school-night routine a few weeks before school starts. Also make sure that they:
It’s normal to be anxious in any new situation. But a few kids develop real physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, at the start of school. If you’re concerned that your child’s worries go beyond the normal back-to-school jitters, speak with your child’s doctor, teacher, or school counselor.
Parents themselves can be a little nervous about the first day of school, especially if they’re seeing their little one off for the first time or if their child is going to a new school.
To help make going to school a little easier on everyone, here’s a handy checklist:
What to wear, bring, and eat:
Transportation and safety:
Figuring out where kids will go after school can be a challenge, especially if both parents work. Depending on a child’s age and maturity, you may need to arrange for after-school transportation and care.
It’s important for younger kids and preteens to have some sort of supervision from a responsible adult. If you can’t be there as soon as school’s out, ask a reliable, responsible relative, friend, or neighbor to help out. If they’re to be picked up after school, make sure your kids know where to meet you or another caregiver.
Although it might seem like kids who are approaching adolescence are becoming mature enough to start watching themselves after school, even kids as old as 11 or 12 may not be ready to be left alone.
If your kids or teens are home alone in the afternoons, it’s important to establish clear rules:
To ensure that kids are safe and entertained after school, look into after-school programs. Some are run by private businesses, others are organized by the schools themselves, places of worship, police athletic leagues, YMCAs, community and youth centers, and parks and recreation departments.
Getting involved in after-school activities:
Be sure to look into the child-staff ratio at any after-school program (in other words, make sure that there are enough adults per child) and that the facilities are safe, indoors and out. And kids should know when and who will pick them up when school lets out and when the after-school program ends.
Also, make sure after-school commitments allow kids enough time to complete school assignments. Keep an eye on their schedules to make sure there’s enough time for both schoolwork and home life.
Love it or hate it, homework is a very important part of school. To help kids get back into the scholastic swing of things:
Encourage kids to:
To ensure kids get the most out of school, maintain an open channel of communication with the teachers by e-mailing or talking with them throughout the school year to discuss your kids’ academic strengths as well as weaknesses.
Most of all, whether it’s the first day of school or the last, make sure your kids know you’re there to listen to their feelings and concerns, and that you don’t expect perfection — only that they try their best.
Kids do better in school when parents are involved in their academic lives. These early years of schooling are an important time for parents to be informed and supportive about their child’s education.
As students grow more independent during middle school, it can be challenging for parents to know how to stay involved. Here are 10 tips.
Even though teens are seeking independence, parental involvement is still an important ingredient for academic achievement.
Find out what our readers said about how they handle back-to-school worries.
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Dread it or love it, you gotta go to school. Looking for ways to make the first day a little less painful? Here are some tips.
As practical as they are, backpacks can strain muscles and joints and may cause back pain if they’re too heavy or are used incorrectly. Here’s how to help kids find the right backpack.
The more comfortable you are with placing your child in preschool and the more familiar the setting is for your child, the fewer problems you – and your child – will encounter.
Homework, homework, homework. How do you get it done? Get some tips in this article for kids.
Are you home alone after school? If so, find out how to stay safe and keep busy until mom or dad comes home.
Enrolling your little one in preschool can be a time filled with many questions. Find out how to establish an open, clear channel of communication with your child’s preschool teacher.
It’s not just for school: Mastering the skills of getting organized, staying focused, and seeing work through to the end will help in just about everything you do.
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Lunch is a great part of the school day. Find out why what you eat can rev you up – or slow you down – for the afternoon ahead.
Every student finds it hard to stay on top of schoolwork sometimes. So what happens when you have to miss a lot of school? This article for teens offers tips and advice.
Writing a report? Studying for a test? Having problems at school? Get tips and advice.
Being organized and focused seems easy for some kids. But for others, like kids with ADHD, it’s not easy at all. This article for kids has tips to help you stay in control.
There’s a lot of “new” in the first day of school. New teachers, new friends, new shoes, new notebooks, and sometimes, a new school. Find out more about going back to school in this article for kids.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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