Well I’m back from holidays feeling rested and ready for the rest of the summer. Today we’re going to take a look at preparing for the Fall. Yes, it will be here before we know it.
Settle back and be prepared to do some planning.
Back to School
Each year at this time I speak to parents about getting their children ready to go back to school. It may feel too early but in actual fact the transition from the laid-back life of summer to regular school days is much easier with just a little planning.
Let’s think about the steps you can take to make early September as smooth and comfortable as possible for the entire family.
One of the biggest challenges is getting up and moving in the morning. If your summer schedule has allowed the kids to sleep in you will want to plan some morning activities now so you can all get used to getting up and moving.
If you have a child entering kindergarten, middle school or high school celebrate this step toward independence. Don’t whine about how much you will miss them or how hard this is on you, or at least don’t do this in front of them. Remember, having a child who is ready for each step forward in his journey to adulthood is a testament to your good parenting.
Another challenge is the child who is really nervous. Reassure him that this is absolutely normal and that you know he will be okay. Listen to his concerns, help him plan how he’ll handle any situations which have him worried and let him know that you have faith in him.
If your child had a bad time last term you can say something like: “Some years are more difficult than others. When that happens to me, I prefer to put it behind me and start the new year fresh.” Acknowledge that it’s easier said than done, but ask her to give the new teacher a chance.
When your child is new to the school, remember that all students are new to the teacher. Give both teacher and child a few days to get acquainted and then decide if you need to speak to the teacher and let her know your child is new. Often children do better without our help. Talk to your child about making it in a new place and certainly welcome all her new friends in your home. You can even hold a party in the first few weeks and include the parents if possible.
Elementary school students should be walking to school and I often suggest that parents talk to other parents in the neighbourhood so there is a group of kids all heading off the same way. The bigger kids will keep an eye on the little ones. Being in a group makes the walk safer and more fun.
Walking to school is important for a few reasons. It gives kids some exercise before they sit in class. Teachers tell me that kids who get fresh air and exercise in the morning are more productive in class. Those who don’t tend to be antsy until after recess.
Walking also allows them to develop some independence and take responsibility for a portion of their own lives. Getting to and from school on their own is a positive step for kids. It helps them to not only be responsible but also helps develop self-esteem because they know you trust that they can handle themselves. On the other hand, driving kids to school each day creates a dependency relationship with is not helpful for your child.
But, first, you need to teach them. And that starts today. Walk the route with them and talk about what they need to do. Show them how to cross the street safely. Then have them walk ahead of you so you can watch and feel confident in their ability. If you start now, they’ll be old hands at it by the first day of school.
Okay, what if you don’t live close to other kids or if your kids have to cross an extremely busy street? What then? The trick is to remember the goals. We want them to get some exercise, to develop independence and take responsibility for getting to school and we want them to be safe. So, how can you make this happen? Be creative. One parent whose kids had to cross a busy highway walked with her children until they were across the busy street, and then let them finish the trip on their own. Mission accomplished.
For parents who are not ready to let the kids walk on their own, an alternative is to set up a walking school bus program. Check out www.walkingschoolbus.org for more information. In this program a designated parent (you can take turns) walks a pre-determined route picking up kids on the way until they’re at the school. There is an adult, but at least the kids are walking and learning how to behave on neighbourhood streets.
Planning for the new school year now will make your September easy.
Bring Kathy to your Community
Do you want to hear more? Kathy is always happy to come and speak in your community, at you event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.
My presentations will share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face it, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I always have my kindle with me when I travel.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
And Vive la Différence talks about the unique kids and situations which need a special look. Come and take a look. These may be just the resource you need.