Each year, students experience all kinds of emotions regarding their return to school – from fear to anxiety, indifference, joy and even excitement! But the transition doesn’t have to be all that difficult.
Parents play an integral role in maintaining their children’s positive emotions, and are important influences in helping to ease negative feelings. Here are some ways how you, the parent, can help ensure your child’s well-being during the first weeks of the school year.
Make a Calendar
Summertime leisure usually allows students a more flexible schedule with very few obligations. Between a full school day, homework and extra-curricular activities, the back-to-school transition can be both alarming and difficult. Before your child’s first day of school (or perhaps on weeknights if school has already started), sit down for 15 minutes to go over the events for the next day, and put a schedule on the refrigerator to remind both you and your child of their schedule in the morning.
Eat the Right Things
Though school lunches continue to improve, students are still faced with many unhealthy options in school cafeterias. Packed lunches with an entrée and fresh fruits or vegetables are healthier for your child and easier on your budget than school lunches. Some studies show that eating better results in higher energy levels for students and improved classroom performance. Conversely, eating poorly has shown to have the opposite effect. Numerous surveys, studies also show that kids who eat breakfast are generally more alert than those who do not.
Get Enough Sleep
Along with improving your diet, getting enough sleep not only helps students perform better in the classroom, but feel better during the day. Doctors recommend 9-11 hours of sleep for school-aged children, and even more for preschool aged children. Not getting enough sleep can contribute to irritability in children and make them more susceptible to virus-carrying bacteria at school.
In addition to school, most students will deal with, at the very least, homework. After-school clubs, sports teams and other obligations also consume a fair amount of free time. Studies show that the earlier parents become involved in their child’s educational process, the more influential they can be. Not surprisingly, the most effective forms of parent involvement are those which parents work directly with their children at home. Even though your child may not always ask for help with homework, be there in case you’re asked for assistance, and encourage your child using positive reinforcement.
Keeping fit and living healthy is critical in children’s development and well-being. It not only helps prevent certain diseases like obesity and diabetes, it actually improves brain functions like cognitive skills and memory. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that children should exercise at least 60 minutes each day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Some of that time is taken care of on the playground during recess, but an after-school sport or leisure time outside will help fully develop a child’s physical well-being. Plus it’s fun!
As a parent, you know your child better than anyone. And with some help from these guidelines during the first weeks of school, you can help build a foundation for their best school year yet!