04 Aug Back to School
“Back to School” means different things to different folks.
August is here and along with a new school year, it brings a variety of feelings along with it. Some may be wondering how summer possibly passed by so quickly and dread giving up the more relaxed summertime schedule. Others may be celebrating the fact that they can put their children back in school and get back to a routine. Some children may be counting down the days until school starts because, at school, they will get to eat two meals every day. Other children may be trying to get in one more swim and sleep in late as long as they can. Some dread homework. Some can’t wait to receive affirmation from a teacher each day.
No matter how you feel about the new school year, you can help make it a smooth transition for your child. Preparing a child for a successful school year involves much more than new clothes or uniforms and buying school supplies.
Here are some ways to set your child up for success this year.
- It’s time to set a nighttime and morning routine. Ensure your routine allows your child to get enough sleep each night and makes your morning run as smoothly as mornings can. Include your child in picking out school clothes, packing lunches, and repacking backpacks in the evening. This can empower your child, teach independence, and allow them a sense of accomplishment.
- Set up healthy eating. Plan healthy breakfasts, not sugar overloads. If packing lunches, choose healthy items. Have your child help. You will build independence and help your child make healthy choices.
- Go over safety rules for your child getting back and forth to school – walkers, bus riders, and car riders all need to know safety rules that pertain to them. Children need rules. Help your child understand the importance of safety rules. And while you are talking about rules, you might go over the need and reason for classroom rules.
- A new school year can be scary. Allow your child to talk about their fears and help them develop strategies to combat them. Validate fears and anxieties, don’t shame children for their feelings.
- Do something to celebrate the new school year – a cake, a balloon, a special school supply, or a family fun night. This brings a sense of joy to the school year and can become a meaningful tradition for your family.
- Be involved. This can be so tough when we already have a million things on our plates but even an email to a new teacher telling them you hope the school year starts off great opens up lines of communication. It also lets your child know that you value their education and school experience.
- Talk it over. Talk about what happens at school. Develop some fun questions to ask about school…preferably ones that require more than a yes or no answer. They don’t all have to relate to the actual work part of school. Use this as a connection time with your child.
- Teach your child kindness. Not every child has kindness in their life, but your child could be the one to offer it to others. Help your children understand some of the experiences other children might have and help them build empathy for others.
To find out how to become a foster or adoptive parent in Arkansas, contact DCFS (https://dhs.arkansas.gov/dcfs/fcadoptinq/fca_inquiry.aspx) or Foster Love (https://fosterlovear.org/) or The CALL (https://thecallinarkansas.org/). To find out how to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Pulaski or Perry Counties, email [email protected]. For anywhere else in Arkansas, visit https://www.arkansascasa.net/.
Angie Jones is the Executive Director for Pulaski County CASA. Angie has been involved with CASA programs for the past 9 years. She is a Certified Volunteer Manager, Certified Guided Facilitator, and Managing Youth Trauma Effectively (MYTE) Facilitator. She has a heart for teenagers in foster care and has worked in conjunction with Pulaski County CASA on training protocols for working with teenagers. Angie also volunteers with teenagers through her church.