Continuing with our back-to-school theme, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has some helpful tips for parents to help kids get back into the swing of things:
>Good physical and mental health. Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health. Schedule doctor and dental checkups early. Discuss any concerns you have over your child’s emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician.
>Review all of the information. Review the material sent by the school as soon as it arrives. These packets include important information about your child’s teacher, room number, school supply requirements, sign ups for after-school sports and activities, school calendar dates, bus transportation, health and emergency forms, and volunteer opportunities.
>Mark your calendar. Make a note of important dates, especially back-to-school nights. This is especially important if you have children in more than one school and need to juggle obligations.
>Re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines. Plan to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least 1 week before school starts.
>Designate and clear a place to do homework. Older children should have the option of studying in their room or a quiet area of the house. Younger children usually need an area set aside in the family room or kitchen to facilitate adult monitoring, supervision, and encouragement.
In my opinion, a child’s bedroom is usually not a conducive place to do homework or study. And doing work on a bed or on the floor should also be discouraged. Sitting in a quiet room at a well-lit table is usually best.
Now some more tips to help parents cope:
>Clear your own schedule. To the extent possible, postpone business trips, volunteer meetings, and extra projects. You want to be free to help your child acclimate to the school routine and overcome the confusion or anxiety that many children experience at the start of a new school year.
>Make lunches the night before school. Older children should help or make their own.
>Leave plenty of extra time. Make sure your child has plenty of time to get up, eat breakfast, and get to school.
>After school. Review with your child what to do if he or she gets home after school and you are not there. Be very specific, particularly with young children.
>Familiarize yourself with the other school professionals. Make an effort to find out who it is in the school or district who can be a resource for you and your child. Learn their roles and how best to access their help if you need them.
You can read more on the NASP website here, including tips on how to minimize school anxiety that your child may be feeling.