Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Teacher Tuesday

Tips on heading back to school.

As you know, last spring we started a Teacher Tuesday post designed to give tips to parents regarding school, homework, friends, etc. If you have a problem or you would like a topic discussed, please feel free to email me at beth(at)elizabethisaacs(dot)com . I've been surprised at the response, and so I look forward to this years topics.

Back to school is one of the most stressful times of the year for kiddo's. New teacher, new classroom, new friends ... new fears.

Here are five ways to help your kiddo transition into a new year.

5. Get them to bed on time a week before school starts.--I know this ones a toughy. Kiddo's are used to playing rousing games of flashlight tag at 11, swimming until the pool closes at 9, midnight bowling, skating, fishing, etc. It's all great ... until that first day of school. Take a week or two to get the kiddo's back into a routine, otherwise they are going to be staring at the ceiling instead of getting a good night's sleep.

4. Don't buy overpriced crap-- We all want the best for our children, but defining early in their educational career that it's what you do at school, not what you wear will send the message that school is about learning, not being seen. Too, socially, children who have over-the-top expensive things are singled out. After a while they tend to feel superior, which leads to false friendships and ultimately isolation. It's better that children understand people like them for who they are, not what they own.  

3. It's your homework, you do it--start off the year right. Sit down and have a heart-to-heart with your child. Let them know that you're there for them if they don't understand something, but you're not looking up those definitions, and you're not doing their science fair project. If they don't get their homework done, they can't go to soccer/baseball/football/whatever. Make school the priority, and give them ownership!

2. The teacher is not the enemy--All right, I might be getting into sensitive waters here, but one of the rockiest ways to start off school is by bringing past qualms into a new classroom. I sincerely hope that everyone had a fantabulous teacher last year. But if that is not the case, don't start off the new year by dredging up bad memories. When kiddo's don't know how to react to stressors, they look to the adults, mainly their parents. Having a positive attitude toward the new year, using positive words when speaking about the new teacher can set the year off in the right direction. It's always best to give a positive example than a negative one.

1. Talk to your child--take some time everyday to really connect with your kiddo. Studies have shown that the average parent talks to their children less that 15 minutes a day. Allow them to tell you about the inconsequential of their day, and eventually they'll get around to the failed test, or the story of the girl who said hurtful things while on the playground. One last word of advice: talk problems out first. Allow them to try and handle them on their own before calling the principal about that mean teacher or a discipline problem. If it continues, by all means go in like a mamma bear, but give the child the opportunity to handle the situation first.