The time is at hand. School for some youngsters begins as early as next week in some parts of the country – although, in some others, there’s still another month of vacation. And while there are lots of kids who are a little wobbly about that first day, the ones most fearful are those getting ready to go to school for the first time.
To help parents ease all the fears, the American Academy of Pediatrics has put out 15 tips. All are seen as helping getting the new school year off to a good start; all involve patience and understanding on a parent’s part.The tips are:
- Before the first day of school, parents should drive or walk the school route to become familiar with the new trek and routine.
- Especially for new students, parents should arrange to visit a school and the child’s new classroom before the first day. If possible, arrange to meet with new classmates in a get-familiar play session.
- Parents of children who walk to school should assess the route for safety, finding out where crossing guards are situated and checking out the traffic patterns.
- Tell kids they should stay on sidewalks and main roads, and not cut through woods, alleys or deserted areas.
Older siblings should ride or walk with younger ones. Or, if the child doesn’t have siblings, see if an older neighbor child can walk or ride with your kids.
- Children who ride on a bus should review safety rules, such as waiting for the bus to stop before attempting to get on or off.
- Let the principal’s office know if a child is going to be absent from school.
- Give kids options for dealing with bullies, such as walking away or telling the kid to stop.
If that doesn’t work, discuss a persistent bully with your child’s teacher.
- Encourage kids to talk about fears of violence, and explain how to avoid dangerous situations and what has been done to assure a child’s safety.
- Arrange for a space at home to do homework that’s free of clutter and distractions – and away from a TV set.
Show interest in a child’s class work. Check homework and help explain assignments.
- If a child is having trouble completing his or her homework, parents should consider cutting back after-school activities and making sure there’s supervised homework time during after-school care.
- Arrange for a tutor if your child is having trouble with a particular subject. Consult with a child’s teacher.
- Allow time for free play in your child’s schedule.