Tag Archives: back to school

91401955

Back to School — Helpful Tips for Parents

Getting the new school year off to a good start can influence a child’s attitude, confidence and performance both socially and academically. The transition to school can be difficult for both children and parents. Even children who are eager to start school may need to make adjustments as they start the new year. The amount of adjustment is really dependent on the child, but parents can help their children manage the back-to-school transition by making the first day easier.

Here are a few ideas to help ease the transition back to school and promote a year full of successful school experiences:

Make sure that your child is physically healthy and ready to learn.

To start the year off right, make sure that your child is in good physical and mental health. Schedule doctor and dental checkups early so that you know your child is ready to begin school with a foundation of well being. Discuss any concerns you have over your child’s emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician. Your doctor can help determine if your concerns are normal, age-appropriate issues or require further assessment. Your child will benefit if you can identify and begin addressing a potential issue before school starts.

backpack kids

Routines are essential

Plan to establish or re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines at least one week before school starts. Prepare your child for this change by talking with your child about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming overtired and being ready to have a great time at school. Bedtime reading is a great routine to start during the summer and to sustain as the school year begins.

Parents: Do your homework. 

You may have received information this summer from your child’s school. Make sure to review any material sent by the school as soon as it arrives. These packets may include important information about your child’s teacher, room number, school supply requirements, school calendar dates, bus transportation, health and emergency forms and volunteer opportunities within the school. 

Visit school with your child

Visiting the school with your child can help your child feel at ease with the upcoming school transition. Meeting the teacher, locating the classroom, lunchroom, etc., will help ease back to school worries and will also allow your child to ask questions about the new environment. Call ahead to your child’s school to identify what the system is for back-to-school campus visits.  Parents can make note of important back-to-school dates, especially orientation events. This is particularly important if you have children in more than one school and need to juggle obligations.

Maintain a positive perspective. 

If your child is anxious about school, send personal notes in the lunch box or backpack. Reinforce your child’s ability to cope with back-to-school transition. Be a model of optimism for your children so that they will emulate your confidence.

Plan to volunteer in the classroom.

Some parents can volunteer regularly and others less periodically throughout the year. Doing so helps your child understand that school and family life are linked and that you care about the learning experiences happening at school. Being in the classroom is also a good way to develop a relationship with your child’s teachers and classmates, and to get firsthand exposure to the classroom environment and routine. Teachers welcome parent help and involvement. 

Mindy Zapata, M.Ed., is the director of Head Start and Early Head Start programs at Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to early childhood development. Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development has long been recognized as a leader in providing comprehensive services in the areas of child health and development, Easter Seals disabilities services, education and early literacy, and training for early childhood professionals. For more information, please visit www.swhd.org.

91401955

Back to School: Helpful Tips for Parents

Getting the new school year off to a good start can influence a child’s attitude, confidence and performance both socially and academically. The transition to school can be difficult for both children and parents. Even children who are eager to start school may need to make adjustments as they start the new year. The amount of adjustment is really dependent on the child, but parents can help their children manage the back-to-school transition by making the first day easier.

Here are a few ideas to help ease the transition back to school and promote a year full of successful school experiences:

Make sure that your child is physically healthy and ready to learn.

To start the year off right, make sure that your child is in good physical and mental health. Schedule doctor and dental checkups early so that you know your child is ready to begin school with a foundation of well being. Discuss any concerns you have over your child’s emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician. Your doctor can help determine if your concerns are normal, age-appropriate issues or require further assessment. Your child will benefit if you can identify and begin addressing a potential issue before school starts.

backpack kids

Routines are essential

Plan to establish or re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines at least one week before school starts. Prepare your child for this change by talking with your child about the benefits of school routines in terms of not becoming overtired and being ready to have a great time at school. Bedtime reading is a great routine to start during the summer and to sustain as the school year begins.

Parents: Do your homework. 

You may have received information this summer from your child’s school. Make sure to review any material sent by the school as soon as it arrives. These packets may include important information about your child’s teacher, room number, school supply requirements, school calendar dates, bus transportation, health and emergency forms and volunteer opportunities within the school. 

Visit school with your child

Visiting the school with your child can help your child feel at ease with the upcoming school transition. Meeting the teacher, locating the classroom, lunchroom, etc., will help ease back to school worries and will also allow your child to ask questions about the new environment. Call ahead to your child’s school to identify what the system is for back-to-school campus visits.  Parents can make note of important back-to-school dates, especially orientation events. This is particularly important if you have children in more than one school and need to juggle obligations.

Maintain a positive perspective. 

If your child is anxious about school, send personal notes in the lunch box or backpack. Reinforce your child’s ability to cope with back-to-school transition. Be a model of optimism for your children so that they will emulate your confidence.

Plan to volunteer in the classroom.

Some parents can volunteer regularly and others less periodically throughout the year. Doing so helps your child understand that school and family life are linked and that you care about the learning experiences happening at school. Being in the classroom is also a good way to develop a relationship with your child’s teachers and classmates, and to get firsthand exposure to the classroom environment and routine. Teachers welcome parent help and involvement. 

peer pressure

Battling Peer Pressure as Teens Head Back to School

Lunches are packed, school supplies are purchased, and alarms are set. Yep, it’s that time of the year again — back to school. It can be an exciting time for adolescents entering middle school and high school — new friends, new challenges and new experiences. But with that also come tests, both in and out of the classroom.

Even when trying to do their best academically and socially, it can be hard for teenagers to resist peer pressure. With the pressures of wanting to fit in, many seek approval of their peers and begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Here are some steps parents can take to work with their teen on how to handle peer pressure as they return to school:

#1: Be in the know

Communicate with teens. Teenagers often get into trouble when they act without thinking. Talking about peer pressure can help prepare for a difficult moment with friends. Helping to avoid peer pressure isn’t just about making sure they know the risks involved; it’s about the parent being in the know as well. Parents should be educating themselves on the various stressors that teens might face daily.

From alcohol to prescription drugs, here in Arizona, more and more teens are experimenting at a young age. DrugFreeAz.org provides tools and lists the most popular substances here in Arizona, including the increased use of “synthetic drugs” and marijuana by teens. Parents should monitor their own alcohol and prescription medication to help curb access. One way to stay in the know is to attend a DrugFreeAz.org workshop or an AZ Parents Connect presentation. Our website lists all of our events and workshops. Another way parents can keep up to date on topics and trends is to join the DrugFreeAz.org Parents Club.

#2: Teach teens to recognize risky situations

Peer pressure is something that every teen will face in his or her lifetime. One of the best ways to deal with peer pressure is by working with them to recognize and successfully handle those types of situations. A high school student should feel comfortable saying “no.” But for some teens, saying “no” to their friends and to a “best” friend may be difficult. Talk to your son or daughter about different ways of responding to peer pressure.

Also, encourage walking away from unhealthy friendships built on peer pressure and those that can harm him or her. Develop a rescue plan with your child. Make sure to emphasize that you are available to pick them up or help them if they are ever put in a risky situation and will always prioritize safety over punishment.

#3: Provide positive parenting

Parents should help teens cope with peer pressure by encouraging positive relationships and becoming involved and supportive in his or her interests. When a teen feels confident, he or she is less likely to give in to pressure from others. Participation in after-school clubs and sports will help students avoid potential scenarios and form relationships with peers who share these positive interests. These activities can also occupy the time that teens might otherwise spend participating in negative activities.

Remember what it was like being a teen? With a new school year around the corner, teens will desire to be socially accepted when with new people or in new situations. Ensure a safe and healthy year by being an accountable parent and teaching the strategies needed to cope with peer pressure as the new school year begins. Remember we’re here for you. At DrugFreeAz.org, we’ll help provide tools for you at every step of the way.

For more tips and information about peer pressure, visit DrugFreeAz.org.