As soon as summer begins, you’ll start finding all sorts of resources to help prepare for back to school. Why? Because there’s a lot of things that need to happen in order for your child to have a successful, fulfilling experience at school, no matter his or her age.
You only want what’s best for them, so you make healthy snack lunches and offer help with homework, but your duties can go beyond that. Whether it’s the beginning of the year or the middle of the academic calendar, be proactive in your child’s school career and ensure that your youngster gets the most out of each day by following these few tips.
Be Involved at School and Home
Talk openly with your child and their school as much as possible. An open line of communication between you and your child’s teacher can go a long way. Failing grades or behavioral problems are less likely to catch you off-guard if you’re really listening to both your child and the school.
Your time is precious, and it can be hard getting back into the swing of things; however, you need to make an effort to be available. Instead of waiting on a call from the teacher to inform you of your child falling behind, discuss lessons and homework with your kids and feel out how everything is going. If you notice your kid struggling with something, step in and either offer help yourself or find additional resources to guide them through it before they fall too far behind.
“Working with teachers, administrators, and other parents will help you understand your child’s daily activities … without intruding on their privacy or personal space,” according to KidsHealth.org. So, get involved and be clear about the amount of time you are able to volunteer. Stretching yourself thin will not help you, the school, or your child, who’s probably already dealing with many stressors of their own.
Understand the Challenges Your Child Faces
Being a kid is hard. From trying to make friends to bullying and maintaining schoolwork, there’s a lot for your kid to be worried about in their day-today interactions. Of course, worrying can add to the problems they face at school and build up to a serious case of anxiety.
Or, maybe your child is naturally anxious, and you’re familiar with school refusal from past experience. According to Psychology Today, “Children with school refusal have a very difficult time getting to school and/or staying in school, usually due to some type of anxiety.” These children are normally obedient, but they can’t shake the anxiety associated with school.
In order for a child to do well in an academic setting, they need to show up mentally and physically. Even if a child with high anxiety attends school, they may not take in everything that he should be. Falling grades will make some cases worse, so make sure you keep up with the communication between you and your child. If you recognize signs of anxiety whenever you mention school, prepare for school and anticipate difficulties on weekends.
Make sure you understand your child’s feelings when it comes to common problems, like bullying, natural disasters, and anything that could be happening at home. Free up your kid’s mind so they can fill it with all the knowledge coming his way.
Foods to Keep the Kid Healthy
A positive attitude on your side and some forethought to each day can go a long way. Your family enjoys a nice breakfast in the mornings when you have time. Other days, you make sure the Pop-Tart isn’t too hot before you head out the door. Prep breakfast ahead of time, and remember to give each family member a multivitamin regularly.
Of course, multivitamins cannot prevent the spread of viruses, and there will be days when your child is sent home with the flu. Those days are unavoidable, but you can strengthen their overall health and immune system. Plus, a morning routine will put everyone in the right mindset for the day ahead, especially if it’s carried out decisively constructive way.
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What's the best way to start the school day?
If you don’t start your day off on the right foot, accomplishing most things becomes slightly more difficult. We like to think it’s simpler for children, and their day will be fine as long as we send them off to school full from a healthy breakfast, with all the necessary supplies in their backpacks. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
A good day begins the night before, when you and your child both go to bed on time for a healthy, full night of sleep. Preschoolers need up to 13 hours of sleep; kids aged 5 to 12 should get 10 to 11 hours; and children aged 10 to 18 need to aim for 8.5 to 9.5 hours, according to WeHaveKids.com. Just as your mood is affected when you’re beat in the mornings, your child’s mood and ability to learn will both be affected by a lack of sleep.
If you find that your child tends to be grumpy in the morning even after adjusting their sleep schedule, consider your own attitude in the morning. Even if you dread the sunrise, put a smile on for your tot. They’ll follow your lead and might be a bit more willing to get ready for school, which can be the most painful part of getting out the door.
You might have 15 minutes before you have to be on the road, and your child refuses to leave home without her cape. During these times, it’s tempting to pull out the angry parent voice. However, that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and often paves the way to a full-blown meltdown. Instead, pick your battles, implement reward systems, and give your child choices.
Your child can face whatever challenger is thrown their way at school or otherwise as long as they are mentally and physically prepared for it. Your job is to guide them. From the first day of school to the last, your work will be cut out for you. But as long as you keep the communication flowing between you two, you’ll know when and how to step in.