Time for back to school

August 25, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

It is time to head back to school. Some children (and parents) are excited to go back and reunite with friends, teachers and familiar routines. I ran part of this article last year and thought it appropriate again for yet the start of another year.

Other children may be more reluctant. It certainly is normal to have some back-to-school jitters. There are things as parents that we can do to help prepare our children for getting back into the school routine and making the transition back as positive as possible.

Certainly doing just that, getting our kids back into the routine, is important. Starting those routines (e.g. getting your children to bed at appropriate times) one or two weeks before school starts to help children readjust.

Talk with your children about the positive things that they like about school. Talk about the friends they haven’t seen during the summer, etc.

Www.kaboose.com says don’t underestimate the importance of some new items for the big day. If possible, take your children shopping to buy those school supplies. Just a few new items can gear a child up for the start of the new school year.

Our family makes a time of going together to pick out those back-to-school items, and we talk about fun school times in the process.

My children enjoy picking out their folders, pencils, and tablets, whether it’s the color or design, and it involves them in the back-to-school process and helps create an excitement. Even our preschool-aged daughter picked out some crayons and a folder. That was big deal for her and very important.

Be organized. Help your child lay out her items, such as her clothes and backpack, the night before to avoid that rush and stress in the morning.

Remember to support your child’s education and let them know how important it is in the beginning of the school year and all year through.

The National Education Association (NEA) noted these major research findings on parental involvement:

• The family makes critical contributions to student achievement from preschool through high school. A home environment that encourages learning is more important to student achievement than income, education level or cultural background.

• When children and parents talk regularly about school, children perform better academically.

• Three types of parental involvement at home are consistently associated with higher student achievement: actively organizing and monitoring a child’s time, discussing school matters and helping with homework.

• The earlier that parent involvement begins in a child’s educational process, the more powerful the effects.

• Positive results of parental involvement include reduced absenteeism, improved student achievement, improved behavior and restored confidence among parents in their children’s schooling.

Source: www.nea.org

Morning rush tip

Here’s a “FamilyFun,” Sept., 2006 solution for the morning rush from Matt Thalken, age 12, Sacramento, Calif.:

Use a morning surprise bag, which Matt and his brother only get when they are ready for school on time. His parents put anything in the bag from a quarter to a piece of candy to a special surprise. The boys never know what’s inside the surprise bag. If the boys are ready by 7:50 a.m., they get to look in the bag and get the surprise.

Some children’s books on starting school

It can be helpful to read some age-appropriate books with your child on starting school or the first day of school. Here are some suggestions:

• “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn (Scholastic Inc.)

• Today was a Terrible Day” by Patricia Reilly Giff, illustrated by Susanna Natti (Viking)

• “Will I have a Friend?” by Miriam Cohen, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (Macmillan)

• “Timothy Goes to School,” by Rosemary Wells (Dial Books for Young Children)