Saturday, 19 April 2014 |

It’s that time of year….Back To School!

Days are getting shorter, camps have come to an end and the back-to-school commercials are on! As August winds down, it is important for parents take time to prepare their kids for September.

Preparing for school does not have to be overwhelming, follow these few steps to a stress free return to school!

1. Talk to your children– Ask your child how he or she feels about going back to school. Ask them what they are looking forward to and what they may be afraid of. Make a list of both. Try to find solutions to some of your child’s apprehensions and be sure to always reiterate the positive moments that they are looking forward to.

2. Prepare together– Take time to go back-to-school shopping with your child. Make a list together of the things you need and shop together. Let your child pick out certain materials such as pencil cases and covers of note books. They will gain a sense of responsibility by taking part of the process of getting ready for school.

3. Take the time to reflect– Take time to review all the special moments of the last academic year. Remind your child of the many successes and explain to your child that there will be many new accomplishments in the coming year!

4. Slowly integrate the new routine– The whole point of summer is to relax, unwind and have fun. It is quite normal that kids go to bed a bit later, sleep in a bit longer, and indulge in certain leisure activities. However, during the school year, it is vital to keep a routine that reflects and compliments the school day. Going to bed at an appropriate time is extremely important. Slowly start integrating the “school year bedtime” during the last two weeks of August. This way the new routine in September will already be implemented!

5. Visit the school– Pop into the school during the last few days of August. Many teachers start to go back to the classrooms during the last week of August to clean, prepare, and get the classroom ready. Don’t be shy and pop into the school so that your child can visit their previous teacher(s). Teachers would always welcome a little hello and hug and it will remind your child that there are many familiar friendly faces to see!

Tips For A Successful First Day!

The first day of school can set the whole tone of a school year. Although parents cannot predict how the school year will be, there are some dos and don’ts to ensure that the first day will be one to remember!

1. Be prepared– Your child will be nervous about the first day, and this is normal. They will be meeting their new teacher, meeting new friends and entering a new grade. Discuss, visualize and create a plan for the first day back. For example, will you drop your child off at the parking lot and let your child walk in alone, or will you walk in with your child and stay for a few minutes to meet the teacher and then leave? Or will the two of you first visit previous teachers and then meet your new teacher? Planning out these details takes away from some of the uncertainty of the day. There is no formula to the plan, the key is that you and your child agree on and commit to it.

2. Get sleep and eat a good breakfast– Be sure your child goes to bed at an appropriate time. It’s a big day, so sleep and full stomach is needed to ensure that nerves are calm.

3. Don’t be late– If orientation time is for 8:30, be there for 8:30. Arriving late will disrupt the routine for everyone, isolate your child, and can set the wrong message to the teacher and your child about the importance of school.

4. Don’t monopolize the teacher– Remember the teacher has a plan for that day. He or she is trying to do everything possible to make sure the day is a hit. They have many students in their class and want to ensure that they all have a great day. The first day of school is not the time to approach the teacher about all your concerns for the year. If you have many concerns or are feeling apprehensive book an appointment with the teacher, where you are both prepared and can speak openly about any concerns.

5. Relax– This may be more for parents than for kids. Remember kids are resilient. This is not their first day of school and will not be there last. Remember that you can only control what is in your environment. Be sure to relax and take a deep breath the rest will work out!

I want my child to be happy at school!

Ask any parent what they want for their child? The answer will be to be happy at school. There are many factors that determine a successful school year and some are in our control and some not.

Here is a look at the things you can do to ensure your child is happy at school:

1. Talk– Take the time to talk to your child. This does not have to be in a formal sit down talk. It can happen in the car on the way to soccer practice, during bath time, or as you sit and read with your child. Always keep the communication open and present. A child needs to know that someone is listening. This will encourage them to speak about the good and bad experiences at school. The more you are aware of what is happening at school the sooner you can detect a seriousness of a situation.

2. Get to know your child’s teacher– This does not mean question and talk to your child’s teacher every day. Know that there is a time and place to know your child’s teachers. Be sure to show up to parents teacher interviews, information sessions, community dinners and volunteer opportunities. If you feel that you need more time, request to meet the teacher for a specific purpose.

3. Express yourself calmly and keep your cool– Know and believe that your teacher is trying their best to ensure that your child is happy at school, but at the same time remember that they are not perfect and are only human! It is very possible that a teacher will miss something or make a mistake. Before approaching, calling or emailing a teacher with an issue, take the time to sleep on the situation to gather all your points and thoughts. When you do express your opinion try to start with the positive and then calmly express your points. Try to also listen to the teacher’s point of view and see how you can come to constructive solutions together. Your teacher will appreciate that you are speaking to them in a calm and collected manner and in return will be able to provide the necessary help.

4. First point of contact should always be the teacher– If there is a problem at school it is always best to first communicate with the teacher. If you feel that your concerns have not been met, you should then speak to vice–principal and/or principal. Remember your child’s teacher is the one who spends most of the day with your child and not administrators.

5. Be positive and supportive– No matter how upset or unhappy your child may be at school, always try to find solutions. It is important that your child sees that you have control and that you believe that things will get better. Remember at times things can sound worse than they are so it is best not to blow things out of control.