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Back to School Sizzle

By: Michael Rashon Adkins, M.Ed.

Michael Rashon Adkins is a member of the Health and Welfare Committee of the Tennessee Conference, a member of John Wesley United Methodist Church, and an Educator.

Article is from:  healthychildren.org

 Each year as summer draws to a close, teachers, parents, guardians, and students alike all begin their back to school preparations. Whether you are sending your child off to Pre-K for the first time or attending your freshman year of college, there’s a lot to prepare for. The following health and safety tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

First Day Jitters

Parents should remember that they need not wait until the first day of class to ask for help. Schools are open to address any concerns a parent or child might have, including the specific needs of a child, over the summer. The best time to get help might be one to two weeks before school opens.

 Many children become nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. This may occur at any age. If your child seems nervous, it can be helpful to rehearse entry into the new situation. Take them to visit the new school or classroom before the first day of school. Remind them that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. If your child seems nervous, ask them what they are worried about and help them problem solve ways to master the new situation.

Point out the positive aspects of starting school to create positive anticipation about the first day of class. They will see old friends and meet new ones. Talk with them about positive experiences they may have had in the past at school or with other groups of children.

Bullying

Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones.

When Your Child Is Bullied

  • Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
  • Teach your child to be comfortable with when and how to ask a trusted adult for help. Ask them to identify who they can ask for help
  • Recognize the serious nature of bullying and acknowledge your child’s feelings about being bullied.
  • Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:

1. Look the bully in the eye.

2. Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.

3. Walk away.

  • Teach your child how to say in a firm voice.

1. “I don’t like what you are doing.”

2. “Please do NOT talk to me like that.”

  • Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
  • Support outside activities that interest your child.
  • Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
  • Monitor your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.

When Your Child Is the Bully

  • Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
  • Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior.
  • Help your child learn empathy for other children by asking them to consider how the other child feels about the way your child treated them.  Ask your child how they would feel if someone bullied them. 
  • Be a positive role model. Show children, they can get what they want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone.
  • Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
  • Focus on praising your child when they behave in positive ways such as helping or being kind to other children as opposed to bullying them.
  • Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, school social workers or psychologists, and parents of the children your child has bullied.

When Your Child Is a Bystander

  • Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying. Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.
  • Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.

Develop a Sleep Routine

Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to be successful in school. Children who do not get enough sleep have difficulty concentrating and learning as well as they can. Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night. Having a bedtime routine that is consistent will help your child settle down and fall asleep. Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, and tucking them in and saying good-night to them. Have your child turn off electronic devices well before bedtime. Try to have the home as quiet and calm as possible when younger children are trying to fall asleep.

Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school, and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for younger children is 10-12 hours per night and for adolescents (13-18 year of age) is in the range of 8-10 hours per night.

Developing Good Homework & Study Habits

Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework starting at a young age. Children need a consistent workspace in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions and promotes study.

Schedule ample time for homework; build this time into choices about participation in after school activities. Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.

By high school, it’s not uncommon for teachers to ask students to submit homework electronically and perform other tasks on a computer. If your child doesn’t have access to a computer or the internet at home, work with teachers and school administration to develop appropriate accommodations.

If your child is struggling with a particular subject, speak with your child’s teacher for recommendations on how you or another person can help your child at home or at school. If you have concerns about the assignments your child is receiving, talk with their teacher.

Healthychildren.org is a great resource for parents and provides great information about supporting students and their educational needs.

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/Pages/Back-to-School-Tips.aspx