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Preparing the Family for Back to School - Special Report Brought To You By www.Parentinglogic.com & www.MomsInc.biz
Preparing the Family for Back to School - Special Report
Summer is the time when kids get to be free. They aren’t bogged down with homework, projects, early morning bus rides, or late night studying. All of that is behind them for a couple of fun-filled months. This is the beginning of summer vacation.
During the summer, kids get to enjoy summer camps, swimming with friends, and going on trips with their families. Summertime means no school. For them, that is the best part of the season. Each day brings a new choice of what they want to do to occupy their time.
But, all too soon, the party’s over. Another school year looms on the horizon and it’s time to think about getting ready. While all kids don’t dislike school, they are sad when the time comes to return.
Parents are often glad because a summer is about all they can take of their kids being around the house day in and day out for two months. Even if kids have good habits during the school year, they seem to forget all about them when school is out. You become the maid and they, the summer guest.
Preparing to return to school is a family affair. Even though the kids are the ones attending school it takes everyone to make sure that those good habits, study skills, and household rules are adhered to during the school year. It won’t work if everyone is not on board.
In this report you will learn about preparing for school and the various things that you don’t want to forget. Parents will get advice on: • • • • • Physical preparation Emotional preparation Academic preparation Medical preparation Home preparation
PHYSICAL PREPARATION Clothes
All kids want to look their best on the first day of school. During the summer, the new fall fashions are displayed so kids can see what they want to wear when the weather cools down. When school begins, the weather will still be appropriate for shorts and T-shirts. Summer and fall clothing are needed to complete the back-to-school apparel arsenal.
Luckily for us, the prices of clothing do come down every once in a while. As far as summer clothing goes, shorts and T-shirts are not too terribly expensive. Stock up on these clothes whenever there is a sale. Shopping during sales means lower prices and a lower total clothing bill. This is important if you have more than one child to outfit for school.
If money is tight, take a trip to the consignment shop or thrift stores. Younger kids won’t care where you got their clothing as long as it is something that they don’t already have.
Great deals can be found in these places and often the clothing still has price tags on them. Don’t be afraid to shop around for some deals.
For older kids, they may want to pick out their own clothes. If they worked a summer job and saved some cash, allow them to shop alone. The more clothing that they can buy the less you will have to contribute to their wardrobe.
Give a few guidelines, though. All clothing they buy has to conform to school regulations. This means no super short skirts or shorts and no shirts that can double as a bra. For guys, forget the cutoff shorts and the jeans with thousands of holes in them.
All kids are going to need something when they head back to the classroom. Each year teachers give out new lists of supplies for kids to bring. Teachers also ask for supplies for the classroom so that there are extra items there in case a child needs something. These wish lists are distributed on the first day of school. Parents are asked to contribute things like hand sanitizer, Kleenex, pencils, markers, crayons, and loose leaf paper.
Some schools send their lists to local stores like Wal-Mart. Students who will be attending that school can come in, pick up a list, and shop for what they need. If your school doesn’t do this, you can still send them to school the first day with the basics. The lists that teachers give often highlight the specific things that they need for the new school year. Those things notwithstanding, there will always be a need for paper, pencils, and notebooks.
Back-to-school sales get into full swing in late July or early August. With so many kinds of school structures these days, some students start before others depending on the school they attend. On the first day, teachers usually give out a lot of paperwork, their supply list, and classroom syllabi. One notebook, a binder, a couple of pens, and some pencils will suffice for most kids.
Don’t forget the backpacks. Backpacks can look like suitcases on wheels these days. With all the books that kids have to carry, the wheels eliminate back strain and sore necks. When choosing backpacks, be sure that shoulder straps are wide, well padded, and crisscross in the back. This crisscross design helps to evenly distribute the weight of what is inside the backpack. The backpack also needs to be the appropriate size for your child’s height and weight.
Getting back into the swing of a new school year can be rough. If you are used to sleeping late and only moving when you want to, jumping into a six hour day of walking from class to class across a large campus can be tiring. Prepare your kids by keeping them active during the summer months. This doesn’t have to take the form of an exercise program. As a family, spend time together performing some type of physical activity at least three times a week.
What kinds of things do you suggest? Kids respond best to activities that are fun. If it isn’t fun, they won’t want to participate. Go for an after dinner walk or a walk before dinner to talk about each other’s day. It is a good way for everyone to unwind and communicate.
Spend a Saturday morning in the park riding bikes, hiking a trail, or walking the family dog. When the family hosts a cookout, set up the volleyball net or begin a kickball game. The point is to keep moving so that you are physically able to handle the long days at school.
Some teens are choosing personal trainers. Kids who are into sports are using trainers to effectively stay fit for play. Teens who want to lose a few pounds are also enlisting the aid of personal trainers. A personal trainer gives them the expertise that they themselves don’t have regarding exercise and nutrition.
School can bring with it a lot of anxiety. The first day is the most potentially traumatic day of the entire school year. Students are re-entering an environment that may or may not have good memories for them from the previous year. For the new kid in school, it is a new universe where you know no one and have to find a place to fit in. Many kids don’t get enough sleep that first night, not because they don’t go to bed early enough, but because of the butterflies in their stomachs.
The first thing that parents and kids need to know is that this type of nervousness is normal. Kids don’t have to hide their feelings from you out of embarrassment. They are not alone in how they feel. Parents go through anguish the first time they send their child out the door for school. They have done all they can to prepare them for that day and the rest is up to the child. It can be pretty scary for everyone.
Major changes in grade level are also a cause for anxiety. When kids attend a new school due to promotion it is a time of excitement and fear about what it will all turn out to be. This occurs when kids go from preschool to kindergarten, elementary school to middle school, and middle school to high school.
For the youngest group of kids, preschool was their first introduction to a new environment. They may cling to their teacher as the familiar person that they identify with. Advancing to a new grade with a new teacher can be traumatic.
Ease their fears by visiting the school before during the summer. Many schools will allow you to set up a time for a walk through with your child. Teachers are at the school several weeks before the start of the school term to get their rooms ready for students. Let your child meet the teacher and talk with them. You will return for orientation, but this visit allows the child to get one-on-one time to put their fears to rest.
This also works with students going from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school. The big concern here is more social status than teacher anxiety. In each case, the student had reached the top in their respective school. They were a “big fish” so to speak. Now, they have to start all over again from the bottom with older kids holding the top position in the school.
Reassure them that the fear will go away. Remind them of the fact that they are advancing with their friends so there will be familiar faces on the first day. Many schools have separate hallways for students of different grade levels so that the younger students aren’t mixing with the older ones. By doing this, a lot of potential bullying of younger kids is thwarted. Each child can feel a certain level of security in school.
Emotional preparation can begin as early as a month before school begins. Visiting the school and talking to your child about their anxieties takes time for them to process. Give them as much time as they need.
Most parents are concerned that kids will lose academic ground during the summer. Kids are just glad not to have to open any more textbooks or listen to any more lectures. Their brains need a break. But, a break doesn’t have to constitute the entire summer. Without constant stimulation, kids do tend to forget some of the things that they learned the previous year.
Now, your kids aren’t going to welcome worksheets and workbooks during the summer. But, if your child likes puzzles and games, try using worksheets that resemble fun pages. They use basic math problems or spelling to solve a word puzzle or a cipher. The kids will enjoy the challenge of a game so they won’t be bothered by the fact that they have to solve school-type problems to find the answers.
My children like to read. They have always loved to open a book and be carried off to another world of their own choosing. The summer is a perfect time to introduce your children to books that are on the next grade level in school.
Libraries usually carry a list of grade appropriate material for you to consult when choosing books. These lists are a mixture of classic literature and more up-to-date works that kids like. Don’t make them read every book on the list. Even reading a few would be helpful for the coming school year.
Remember how you hated pop quizzes in school? Well, if you make them fun, your kids may enjoy them better over the summer. Instead of a structured study time, use every opportunity to review what they have learned in the school the previous year.
This could include letting them count out the change from your purchases. Let them keep the change if they can correctly tell you how much they have. Basic math skills can be used in the grocery store. Your child can add up your items as you put them in the cart. Carrying a pocket calculator makes this easier to accomplish. At the end, show them how to figure out the tax to find the total amount you will spend.
A road trip is also a good time to perform an academic review. Come up with games that involve learning in some way. For example, pick a letter and see how many states and/or countries everyone can think of that begin with that letter.
My kids are more hands on kind of people. We perform science experiments and they really like that. After the experiment is over we discuss how it worked and think of other experiments to try. Working with your hands fascinates boys especially.
Also during the summer, set up an area that will be “homework central” for the coming year. Kids concentrate better when doing homework if the area is free from distractions like television and video games. This can be the dining room or the kitchen table.
Wherever you choose, keep the area well stocked with homework supplies so kids don’t spend twenty minutes looking for a pencil or a piece of paper. Enlist the aid of the kids to get the area straight. Older kids may want to work in their rooms instead of in a common area. In that case, get them a desk with room for all the necessary supplies.
Parents have a tough time coordinating trips to the doctor when school is in session. Between work, school, and extracurricular activities, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. The summer break offers a unique opportunity to get all medical needs taken care of.
Visiting the doctor in the summer prepares kids for the next school year as well. Even if they don’t play sports, a physical is recommended at least once a year for a child. If parents have any questions for their pediatrician they can ask and get answers. Children can do the same.
A yearly physical helps kids stay current on their immunizations and booster shots. This is important in light of the meningitis scares that some schools have experienced. It is a condition that is potentially fatal if not treated and it can often be misdiagnosed in the beginning. A meningitis vaccine is encouraged for high school and college students.
Also use those appointments to get physical forms filled out for sports participation. Most sports teams begin sign up a month or so before school is scheduled to begin again. If you know that your son or daughter will be participating, get a form from the coach early in the summer so that it will already be in hand when you visit the doctor.
Younger children have an additional vaccine to add to the usual ones that are administered. The chickenpox vaccine (Varicella) and flu shots are also recommended for students entering grade school. A dental visit and eye doctor appointment when they are young can get them off to a healthy start.
Scheduling appointments for the summer usually involves calling for the appointment as soon as school is out. Doctor’s offices will have more open spots for you to choose the
time and day that fits your schedule. As it gets closer to the beginning of the new school term, everyone will be calling for appointments in the few weeks prior. Don’t wait that long or your child may miss out.
Now we come down to the biggest part—getting the entire family ready for school. This process begins at home. You have taken care of medical issues, bought all the supplies that you could, talked about their emotional well-being, and shopped for new outfits. It is time for the house to be transformed into a sleek school-ready machine once again.
Establish bed times for your school-age youngsters. Children need at least eight hours of sleep a night. When they get less than enough, performance in school drops off. It is hard to concentrate on your work when you are sleepy. Kids may think that they can handle it but they cannot.
Sleep is important not only for concentration and memory, but also for proper functioning of the body. Lack of long restful sleep can bring on headaches, body aches, and illness. Make no mistake—your body will get the rest it needs even if that means sabotaging you. So, avoid such unpleasant outcomes by getting adequate rest every night.
Switching back to school sleep patterns begins at least two weeks before school begins. Kids may protest, but it is for their own good. One week may do it, but it could be hard to get in the flow of things in such a short time. For younger kids, the more you practice something, the more comfortable they are with the routine.
Teenagers may not need a bed time per se, but they do need curfews. On school nights, the time they are due back is earlier than the weekend time. If they want to continue their
summer job during school, set rules for how long they are allowed to work, if any, during the week. Jobs that interfere with their academic work are a hindrance.
Decide on the lunch plan for the year. In the long run, fixing bag lunches are more economical and nutritious. Since it is fixed at home, you know what is in each item you give to your kid. Insulated lunch bags mean more variety in the lunch. Instead of a sandwich and chips and a soda, they can enjoy fruit slices, wrap sandwiches, and bottled water with a flavoring powder.
Two weeks before school begins is a good time to review plans for traveling to and from school. If you can manage to drop them off and pick them up, this is the best as far as safety. But, most kids ride school buses. Kids need to know where the bus stop is in relation to their home so they can be there on time in the mornings.
If your child walks to school, walk the route with them to be sure it is safe. Have a designated meeting area for neighborhood kids that also walk to school. There is safety in numbers. Older kids may not need a meeting point, but they will want to at least walk with one other person for safety reasons.
Bus schedules are printed in the newspaper and posted on school district websites. Parents can be sure that their child gets on the correct bus to school and know what bus to expect will drop them off in the afternoon. It is important to know where your child is at all times.
For teenagers who can drive, take the time to review the driving rules with them. Many accidents involving young people occur on the way to or leaving school. Not as much attention is paid to the road if they are talking with their friends or gabbing away on the cell phone.
The day before school begins, have everything in its place to avoid day of school jitters. Preparation is the best way to put weary minds at ease. Fill the backpack with the essential school supplies and leave them by the front door. So, even if your child is running late, they won’t forget to grab their backpack.
There is nothing harder than deciding what to wear on the first day of school. Instead of trying on fifty outfits the morning of, try them on the night before so you already know what you are going to wear. Review bus schedules and after school activities at this time too.
Don’t forget the nutritious meal. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you eat healthy in the morning, you think better all day. This goes for parents as well as kids.
Energy levels are higher as well. If you don’t have time to cook, try instant oatmeal, cold cereal, fruit and yogurt, or cereal bars. All are nutritious and packed with vitamins and minerals.
Preparing to return to school takes patience and a concerted effort on the part of the entire family. Kids need our support to make it through the school year. The kids are the ones heading out the door for another academic year, but it is the parents who will help them meet with success.
Give yourself and your kids a month of freedom before jumping back into the academic mode. Take a family vacation or visit relatives. Whatever you do, do it together.
Family time is at a premium during the school year, but the summer affords us that chance to change things. Having fun together keeps the lines of communication open and that is important in a family with kids, especially teenagers.
So, let’s recap. After the month is up, it’s time to get into gear with our medical preparations. Physical exams and immunizations can be taken care of as soon as an appointment time is available.
Next is the shopping. Be on the lookout for sales so you can save on the things they will need for next year. Clothing from the summer can still be worn at the beginning of the school year when it is still warm. Most stores will have a sale right before school, but everyone will be shopping then.
Don’t forget the basic supplies which everyone needs: paper, pencils, pens, notebooks, and loose leaf paper. Teachers will hand out detailed lists later but this will prepare them for the first day. Also grab extras for the classroom.
Learning doesn’t have to stop because school does. Turn it into fun games and activities that kids will enjoy despite the fact that you are trying to get them to learn. You’ll be amazed at the results.
In the two weeks prior, sit the family down and go over house rules for the school year. This includes bed times, curfews, homework times, extracurricular activities, and family time.
The day before, the first day of school, set out everything they will need. Everyone will sleep better when they are ready to face the new day. Are you ready? Let’s get going!
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