As a parent when you are thinking about what’s included in preparing your kids to start or to go back to school, your mind usually flutters to the material things like buying new shoes, clothes, and binders. This may even top your back to school, to do list but you’re missing some very important things like preparing the school for your child as well. Here are some additional actions you take to ensure it all goes as smoothly as possible.
Start by being clear and communicating with your child’s school staff; one very important aspect is to make sure your child’s emergency contacts and phone numbers are accurate and current. If an emergency happens in school and they are not able to contact you, it may feel like a bad dream when you find out in the aftermath. Hopefully it wasn’t something horrible but either way you will feel guilty, especially if your child was upset when you didn’t show up to comfort them. This step is even more important when your child has a medical condition so just take the time to go over all the information the school has in your child’s file. Maybe you can contact the school and set up a specific meeting just to talk about your child if they have special needs. Be sure to inform the school about all health conditions your child has or may have. Warn the school very clearly about any harmful or life-threating allergies your child has as well and do this in advance so the school has some time to prepare any special changes. If your child has any physical restrictions make sure that the school is equipped to accommodate them. Some children need medications for various health conditions that require them to be administered during the school day, so make sure you talk with the school about this and fill out the correct documentation about the medication your child takes.
Create a healthy structure at home. You can do this by making sure your child gets breakfast and well balanced meals for lunch and dinner. Make sure your child has enough time for physical activity, completing homework, and getting enough sleep which is 10 to 11 hours for most. Limit screen time such as T.V., computers, and video games to 10 hours a week. Take time to talk. At an appropriate age start a dialogue about alcohol, drugs, and smoking, before they become issues. You can start this very young when your children are just starting school by talking to them about being healthy and how those things affect a person’s health negatively etc.
Keep an eye out for bullying, note any increase in depression, anxiety, headaches, absences and poor school adjustment. Talk to your kids about things that happened during the day, how they made them feel and take appropriate action to deal with those issues. With older children, be alert for signs of withdrawal and eating disorders. Double check the route to school and always try to make sure your child has a buddy to walk with if they walk to school. As pedestrians, children are at an even greater risk of injury and traffic crashes due to small size, inability to judge distances and speeds, and inexperience with traffic rules. Teach kids to cross the street safely and to walk on sidewalks or paths.
Children under the age of 10 should not cross streets alone. For older children and teens, know where they’re walking or who will be driving them. Checking into all of these things should really help you and your child feel a little bit safer and more relaxed so they can get the most out of school and learn to their full potential.