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It’s Back To School Time!

January 24th, 2014 -

It’s that time again when holidays finish and school starts again for a new year. For some children, it’s their very first time at school and they’re probably a bit scared. For every child, it’s a new class, perhaps a new teacher. For many it will be a new school – moving from Primary to Intermediate or to College. For some it will be the start of a year with important exams.

How parents prepare themselves and their children makes a big difference in how good the child feels about the process. Encourage your child to want to go to school as an education is the greatest tool you can give him/her to make a success of their life. Here are a few tips to help you and your child cope.

Enrol early if you haven’t already done it last year. Don’t leave it to the last day to make sure there’s a place for your child at the school you want him/her to go to. Find out what day school starts and what time your child is expected to arrive. Is there a uniform? What about sports gear, swimming togs and such like?

Make sure the kids get back into a routine. You’ve just finished the long summer holidays and everything has been very casual. School means getting up on time, having a good breakfast to start the day and getting to school on time. Bed times are just as important so that your child gets a good night’s sleep to be fresh in the morning. Late night TV during the week will not help your child learn.

Plan their journey. How will they get to school and is it safe? Do they walk, bike or bus. Does the school have a “walking bus”?

Good health. Be sure your child is in good health and is looking forward to going. It is important that your child gets to school early and ready to learn and it won’t help if your child still has that cold, tooth ache or sore ear. Get important things like their eyesight and hearing checked if you have any doubts about them. Your child’s school may have either a Dental Clinic or school nurse who can help. Ask.

Visit the school with your child. If your child is young or in a new school, visit the school yourself. Meet the teacher (get their contact details – phone number, email address), see the classroom and meet some of your child’s friends and parents. What’s the school phone number if you have to call them? Who do you call if your child gets sick?

Buy school supplies early as possible. Try to get the supplies as early as possible so that your child is ready to go on day one. Clothes, shoes, stationary, equipment and supplies can be expensive. Shop around – check out The Warehouse, Trade Me and discount stores to get the best prices. Can you re-use things from older children? Has you child got a strong backpack to carry everything?

What happens after school? Make plans for what happens when your child gets out of school. Will someone meet him/her or will they make their own way home. Make sure someone is home when they get there or have a plan to keep them out of trouble. If there are cultural groups or sports teams that your child is involved with, what are practice nights and what time should they finish?

Decide on a set place to do homework. Older children could have the option of studying in their room or a quiet area of the house. Younger children usually need an area set aside in the family room or kitchen so that an adult is close at hand to help and encourage them in their homework.

Make lunches the night before school. Make sure there is suitable food in the house to make lunches everyday. Older children should help or make their own.

Read everything the school sends home. Check your child’s bag each night to make sure you receive any newsletters, notes and information. Ask other kids and their parents to make sure your child is bringing you what they’ve been given. In the first few weeks, there will be stuff about your child’s teacher, room number, stationary requirements, after-school sports and activities, and health and emergency forms.

Mark on a calendar the important school events such as parent/teacher evenings, sports days, field trips (can you go as a parent helper?) and school shows.

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