While teachers went back on duty this week, Perry Hall kids were enjoying their last few days of summer break. But come Monday, Baltimore County schools will be back in session!
Now is the perfect time to help your students put their best foot forward on their first day of the 2011-2012 school year. Here are some tips to help you get off to a good start:
- Deal with separation anxiety. While some children will run to the bus, get on and wave goodbye without any issues, others cling to parents and experience tearful goodbyes. Separation anxiety, also called Kindergarten Anxiety, is common especially for kids heading off to school for the first time. Parents can help their children with this by talking about what the day will be like, visiting the school before the first day and resisting the urge to show their own anxiety and emotions about the child leaving for school. Reassure your child that he will be fine, that he is a big boy or girl, and that school is fun! Don't forget to tell your child how proud you are of him. Perhaps you can do something special as well, like put a note in his lunchbox, or give him a special keychain for his backpack, or something else that will remind him how much you love him.
- Plan ahead. Rather than race around like crazy Monday morning trying to find everything your student will need for school, plan ahead. Being prepared will help send your child get back to school with everything on the list. Get school supplies, clothing and accessories ready Sunday night before bed. Being prepared will ease your child back into the routine.
- Address any issues of bullying. It’s important that your child know that bullying should never be allowed. If your child is being bullied, he needs to let you or the teacher know immediately. When a child is picked on, it can truly make his day at school dreadful. There are too many news stories of bullying going too far and having devastating effects. Don’t think, “It won’t happen to my child,” or “my child would never do that to another kid.” It very well can happen and many children are too embarrassed or afraid to let their parents know. The American Academy of Pediatrics has outlined techniques for parents to address bullying with their children. Whether they are being bullied, are the bully or a bystander, it’s important that you are aware of what’s going on and how to react to ensure your child has a positive school experience.
- Establish open communication. As a new school year begins, this is also a good time to remind your children that they can come to you with any problem or concern. High schoolers are especially notorious for shutting their doors and locking parents out of their lives. And while some privacy is good, it’s important for parents to know what is going on in their children’s lives and that they are comfortable coming to mom or dad with issues. Having a family dinner every night is an easy way to open communication—use it to talk about your child’s day and build trust and understanding when your child or teenager needs you.
- Set up a homework schedule. Let’s face it—kids don’t like to do their homework. They’ve been in school all day and just want to play, talk to their friends or relax. But if you start off the school year with set expectations or even a schedule of when homework is to be done, that will keep them in a routine and avoid “the dog ate my homework” excuses. Some students do homework immediately after coming home, while others need time to relax or play first. Still others have to juggle extracurricular activities or sports in the evening as well. So, think about the best time for your child to knock out his homework, and stick to it.
Best of luck to Perry Hall's students next week!