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Monday, July 17, 2017

Back To School

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SUMMER’S OUT, SCHOOL’S IN

Plan ahead to reduce back-to-school stress

It seems like summer just got started, yet we are already talking about getting the kids ready to go back to school. We all know that planning ahead is the way to go when setting our sights on having that first day of school run smoothly and hassle-free.

Getting into the swing of things takes a little planning for both parents and kids. So what are some things parents can do ahead of time to get the kids out the door and heading off to school without a lot of stress and tension? Some of the more obvious ways to prepare may be:

• Update your emergency information/contact numbers and make sure your child has the proper immunizations and the paperwork to prove it.

• Purchase new uniforms – the kids have probably grown an inch or two or just enough to make last year’s uniform a little too short and non-useable for this new school year.

• Get that school supply list from your child’s school and make those purchases of items to take to school on the very first day.

• Begin to prepare the kids for getting up a little earlier if they have not had to do so during the summer. Back up their bedtime a few minutes earlier each night until school begins.

• Check on the bus or other modes of transportation your child will use to get to and from school. Give your child the information they need to know so they can get back and forth to school safely.

• Designate a place for your children to put their backpacks when they get home. Each day upon arriving home from school, they should place their backpack at the same place they will be doing their homework. Having one designated place for both will alleviate loosing books and homework papers.

Other suggestions to help with the new school year’s transition are:

• Discuss getting backpacks ready the night before to make for less stressful mornings. See that your child gets his clothes out he will wear the next day. Precious morning minutes will be saved by doing this.

• Speak in positive ways about your child’s school and your child’s teacher. Children will be less anxious if they know you approve of both the school and the teachers.

• Take a picture of your child’s teacher (if possible) and place it on the refrigerator so your child can recognize her/him when she sees her/him on the first day if this is their first time to attend school.

• Give a little extra time if your child is going to a child-care center for the first time. Take time to walk into the classroom with your child and help him get acclimated. This will send the message that it is an OK place. (Don’t linger too long, but long enough to help your child feel secure.)

• Mark your calendar for the back-to-school/ meet-the-teacher night. You do not want to miss this event. Getting to know your child’s teacher will help bring a camaraderie between you and the teacher, and it will benefit your child, teacher-parent conferences, school holidays and special school events throughout the year.

• Take a tour of your child’s school if it is the first time for him to attend there. It will help your child have less anxiety about that first day.

• Talk about the fun things your child will learn.

• If your child is anxious about starting the next grade, reassure her/him that other children have these feelings, too.

• Don’t make plans for big trips right before the start of school.

• Establish school-day schedules for homework, TV, baths and bedtime.

• Arrange play dates with friends from school to re-establish connections that may have been dropped for the summer, or to create new ones.

• If your child takes his lunch to school, talk about some of the things he would like to have in his lunch box. Maybe he could pick out a few things at the grocery store with you. Don’t forget to put in various uplifting notes in his lunch box each day.

Now that you have done your “homework” to prepare your child for the new school year, give yourself an “A” and a pat on the back. You have set the stage for a great first day and, hopefully, a great year, too.

Dianne Glasgow is a family and child specialist at the LSU AgCenter in Caddo Parish. She can be reached at dglasgow@agcenter.lsu.edu.

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