Friday, July 26, 2013

Parents Can Help Make Back to School Cool by Taking Steps to Make Transition More Relaxed

Contact: Angie Fletcher, human development specialist
Tel: 417-683-4409

AVA, Mo. -- The short summer months will soon begin to wind down and school bus trips will take the place of car trips to the lake. Back to school time is often a time of change for families.

The first day of school, new schools, and new teachers, are only a few of the many changes children and families encounter at the beginning of a new school year according to Angie Fletcher, a human development specialist with University of Missouri Extension.

“Making a smooth transition between the summer break and the beginning of school can help children feel good about themselves and help everyone in the family create and maintain a positive outlook about the coming school year,” said Fletcher. “Parents play an important role in helping make this transition a smooth one.”

Fletcher offers a few tips to help make this transition more relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.

Establish a routine. “Bed times, rise and shine times, where to put backpacks and important notes when I get home are all part of the routine. It is a good idea to begin following the school schedule at least a week or so before school actually begins. This will help you and your child adjust to the new routine,” said Fletcher.

Take a school tour. “This is especially important if your child is new to the school system or building. Knowing where to go on the first day can relieve a lot of stress,” said Fletcher.

Meet with your child’s teacher(s). “Introduce yourselves. Discuss what will be happening in the classroom, as well as any special needs or situations your child may have. It is also a good idea to find out if there are ways you can help out in the classroom,” said Fletcher.

Make sure all school records are up to date. Make sure the school has any new phone numbers, changes of address, immunization updates, etc. Having these in an emergency can save precious minutes.

Get all required examinations. Try to schedule appointments for sports physicals, immunizations, dental exams, etc. before school starts. This will help avoid absences from school.

Be sure your child knows their address and phone number. This is especially necessary if you have just moved.

Make necessary after-school care arrangements. “Make necessary arrangements and be sure your child knows where they are to go and what they are to do after school. It is also a good idea, especially for elementary school students, to inform the teacher of these plans,” said Fletcher.

Purchase school supplies. Check with your child’s teacher or school for a list of needed supplies.

Create a homework center. “Stocking a homework center with the supplies needed to complete homework can help a child focus and have what they need when they need it. Just make sure the area is not near the television or other distractions,” said Fletcher.

Stress the importance of good nutrition. “Healthy, well-balanced breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners can unleash brain power in your child. Studies have shown that good nutrition helps keep children focused, their energies high, and their moods balanced - all of which are factors that promote learning,” said Fletcher.

For more information, contact any of MU Extension’s human development specialists in southwest Missouri: Renette Wardlow in Christian County at (417) 581-3558, Dr. Jim Wirth in Taney County at (417) 546-4431, or Angie Fletcher in Douglas County at (417) 683-4409

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