Back to School
With a new school year fast approaching, there are many things that parents need to consider; everything from preparing school lunches, to homework, after school programs including: sports, music classes, gymnastics, karate and dance. Even scheduling or monitoring the time your child will spend on their computer, or whether they are allowed to play on-line games or make you tube videos. Of course, back to school shopping and getting organized is priority for most parents!
There are many great options available to help parents decide which school supplies they will need. Staples for example, offers must have lists by grade, (from kindergarten through to high school), to assist parents with their search. On-line shopping can help make it easier to find supplies and has become a popular alternative to traditional back to school shopping. When shopping for your high school or university students, it is important to choose supplies that will assist in their organization, and prepare them for a successful year. Many places offer both in-store and on-line shopping to make it easier to get what you need. Check out and compare places like Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, and don’t forget some of your local boutique shops that can sometimes offer value added, creative solutions that may be right for you. Wherever you decide to go, do a little research and find the best fit for you and your child.
Providing our kids with a variety of healthy, packed lunch choices every day can be challenging. Finding a balance between what’s good and/or good for them, and ensuring that they will eat what they have been given is something that many parents struggle with. Along with some of the great ideas that parents share with each other, there are many “outside the box” or “lunchbox” ideas are just a few key strokes away. Check out sites like Pintrest, where many people are posting creative, healthy and tasty suggestions that your child is sure to enjoy. One suggestion was to use cucumbers or romaine lettuce instead of bread to make sandwiches. There are many healthy hot lunch options to choose from, that are also just a click away. Including your child in the preparation is a great way to get even the pickiest eater to eat healthy.
Moving to a New School
If you have recently moved, or are thinking of moving, and your kids will be going to a new school; there are a few things that you can do to help reduce the stress and anxiety associated with their transition. Of course, if your child is experiencing transitional difficulties, it is important get the advice of a professional that specializes in this field, but here are a few proactive tips that may help them manage change.
Six tips to help your child transition to their new School:
- Involve your Child: If you involve your child, they are more likely to be interested and engaged, and may help them cope with the transition. Allow them to have a say in their new surroundings; the colour that you paint their room, maybe the way they decorate it? If you have young children, let them choose their new lunch box, or backpack for school. Whatever you choose, involve them and they will be much more open to accepting their new surroundings.
- Communication: Pay attention to your child’s cues, if you notice something is concerning talk to them and find out what is bothering them. It could be a major stressor and require professional assistance, or it could be as minor as kids at the new school are following a different clothing trend than those at their previous school. The important thing is to get things out in the open so that you can give your children some options about the way they problem solve.
- Stay Positive: Having a positive attitude about the new home, neighbourhood and school can have an infectious effect on your child. Focus on the things that your child is hopeful about in their new surroundings and show interest.
- Get Active: Get your child in to a new local program or sport. If you involve your child in a program like scouts, or gymnastics, swimming etc…, it is likely that they will meet some of the kids that will be attending their new school, or live on or near the street that you have just moved to. If you haven’t moved yet but plan to move during the school year and know where you are going to buy your next home, you might want to enrol your child in a program before the move, allowing him/her to get to know some of the kids prior. Getting kids involved in programs and sports also teaches them valuable lessons about teamwork, friendship, leadership and cooperation.
- Teach your Child to be Proactive: Sometimes being positive just isn’t enough? Give your children advice to how to engage other kids or start conversations. It may be helpful for them to learn how to meet people and will help them to adjust quickly to their new surroundings. Of course it is important to know how shy your child is and how they will respond, before you advise them on how to proceed. Learning to be proactive helps children to feel more in control and will increase confidence and satisfaction.
- Consistency: Being organized and having consistent, regular routines, both at home and at school, helps to provide children (especially elementary school aged children), with the structure that they need to feel confident about their new surroundings. Things like a list with chores on it, setting aside specific times for homework, reading, and play time, can provide consistency, helping them to feel that they are in a stable environment.
Changing to new surroundings prior to, or during the school year can be a great opportunity to teach our children some very important life skills that they will be able to take with them into adulthood. Adapting to a new school and new surroundings always requires some form of adjustment. Taking an active role with our children’s transitions, reminding them of their successes and encouraging them to think about possibilities, will undoubtedly help them adapt, make new friends, and make life in your new home a wonderful experience.
A Look Ahead
No matter what the year holds for your child(ren), continued, open communication is key to staying in front of the challenges they will face in the coming year. Maintaining a positive and realistic viewpoint will help them to feel comfortable talking about important issues, and allow them to have an optimistic outlook and improved school – home balance.
Whether you are bringing your little one to kindergarten for the first time or waving goodbye to your College or University student as they pull out of the driveway; enjoy these moments—it won’t be long before they are looking to start a family or buy their first home—it truly does happen in the blink of an eye.
Wishing you and your child great success for the coming school year!