It's back-to-school time already
Sept. 15, 2014
by Jenni Sebora

School is off and running. I usually write my back-to-school article the week before school, and here I am, almost a month behind. That is how quickly it came up on me.

Not only have I been helping my kids kickstart their new school year, but I, personally, have been prepping and planning for the school year for the program I teach. And how lucky I am that I get to do that.

Each year is a fresh start – a new beginning, and I think that is exciting and regenerating for everyone involved. The new backpack, tennis shoes, pencils, and folders are symbols of that new start.

Our youngest daughter, who is 10 years old, loves finding the perfect, unusual eraser, pencil pouch, and folder.

Allowing children to put their personal touches on choices that are appropriate gives them ownership and feelings of positivity about their year/event – whatever it may be.

We know that the start of a new school year does not conjure positive feelings for some children. Fear, anxiety, and having to give up the freedom of summer can make going back to school difficult, or just plain unwelcomed.

As parents, it is our job to help them with those feelings. Sometimes, we have to help them move forward, as well, and take some risks. That may mean helping them form a new friendship with a peer, or join a club or activity.

We certainly don’t want to push them into situations that are fearful or overwhelm them, but sometimes some children need a little nudge to move ahead.

Encourage and plan play dates. If your child is older, encourage friends to come over. Get to know their peers and their families.

Encourage participation in extracurricular activities, but go for quality, not the number of activities.

Stay connected with your kids’ teachers and school. This demonstrates that you feel your children’s education is important, and that you care.

Always talk with your children about school. Ask specific questions about their day, even as simple as what they had for lunch, who they ate lunch with, and so on. It shows you are paying attention to them and their world.

Reinforce to your children that their job is focusing on school and friendships.

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