Planning Guide

Back-to-School Tips

School BusMany kids do feel some anxiety about starting the school year. Below parents will find some useful back-to-school advice that will help their youngsters overcome uneasiness and enjoy their first day at school. 

  1. Tell your kid that nearly every student feels uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers are also aware of that and will do their best to help everyone feel as comfortable as possible. 
  2. Remind your child all the pros of starting school: seeing old friends and meeting new ones, seeing a favorite teacher, having fun! If your kid had a happy first day of school the previous year, remind him or her about that positive experience. 
  3. You can find another child in your area with whom your kid can walk to school or ride on the bus. 
  4. If you consider it necessary, drive your child (or walk with him or her) to school and pick him or her up on the first day.

Backpack Safety

  1. Getting ready for back to school it is essential to choose the right backpack. Keep in mind that a backpack should have wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back. 
  2. Make sure that the backpack doesn’t weigh more than 10 – 20 percent of your child’s body weight. Pack light, trying to use all of the backpack compartments. Remember that the heaviest items should be packed in the center of the back.
  3. To prevent muscle strain never allow your kid to sling a backpack over one shoulder so make sure that your child always uses both shoulder straps.
  4. If the school rules permit, consider buying a rolling backpack especially if your child must tote a heavy load. But keep in mind that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and it may be difficult to roll them in snow.

Traveling To and From School

Make sure that your youngster knows the following basic rules:

School Bus 

  1. The seat belt use along with knowledge of school bus laws is of paramount importance for your kid’s safety in the bus. If your child’s school bus is equipped with lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child always uses one when in the bus.
  2. Never approach the bus from the curb before the bus has stopped first.
  3.  Do not move around on the bus.
  4. Before crossing the street, be sure to see that no other traffic is approaching. 
  5. Always try to walk where you can see the bus driver so that the driver will be able to see you too.
  6. Children must always board and get off the bus at locations with safe access to the bus and to the school building.

Car

  1. All passengers must use a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car seat or booster seat. 
  2. It is advisable for kids to ride in a car seat with a harness as long as possible. When your child grows older he or she should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your youngster can’t ride in a child’s booster seat until he or she has reached the appropriate weight or height allowed for the seat. 
  3. A belt-positioning booster seat is required for a child until the vehicle's seat belt fits properly, usually when the child reaches about 4' 9" in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age. This means that the child can sit against the vehicle seat back with his or her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, and not the stomach. 
  4. All children who haven’t reached 13 years of age are required to ride in the rear seat of vehicles. In case you need to drive more children than can fit in the rear seat, you should move the front-seat passenger’s seat back and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
  5. A great number of teen driver accidents happen on the way to and from school. In order to prevent a car crash it is essential for a teen driver to adhere to teen driver’s laws which require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and prohibit eating, drinking, cell phone conversations, texting or other mobile device use. Parents should also limit nighttime driving and driving in unfavorable weather conditions. Acquaint yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement if you would like to facilitate the early driving learning process.

Bike 

  1. Always wear a bicycle helmet, even for a short ride. 
  2. Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic. 
  3. Use appropriate hand signals. 
  4. Respect traffic lights and stop signs. 
  5. Try to wear bright-colored outfit to increase visibility. When riding in the evening or at night consider wearing white or light-colored clothing.

Walking to School 

  1. Make sure your kid has a safe route to walk to school. 
  2. Be realistic when deciding whether your child can cross the street on his or her own. Small children are known to be impulsive and less cautious around traffic, so carefully consider whether or not your child has enough pedestrian skills to walk to school without an adult. 
  3. If your kids are quite young or have just started attending a new school, walk with them until you are sure they know the route well and can get to school safely without adult supervision.
  4. Try to dress your kids in bright-colored outfits to make them more visible on the road.
  5. In case you can’t make sure that kids walk to school safely because of very heavy traffic in your area consider organizing a “walking school bus” with an adult accompanying a group of neighborhood children walking to school.

Eating During the School Day

  1. If the school regularly sends you schedules of cafeteria menus, you can easily pack lunch on the days when the main course is not something your kid likes to eat. 
  2. Look into school foods served in the cafeteria and find out if there is enough healthy foods to eat during the day such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines. 
  3. To illustrate why eating healthy is important consider the following fact: each 12-ounce soft drink contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar that equal 150 calories. The daily consumption of at least one can of soda increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%. So it would be a wise ideal to restrict your child's soft drink consumption.

Bullying 

To bully means to pick on one child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social and can take place at school, on the school bus, on the playground, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through cell phones.

When Your Child Is Being Bullied

  1. Teach him or her how to behave in a difficult situation. If you have noticed signs your child is being bullied make sure the child knows how to respond properly by:
  • looking the bully in the eye;
  • standing tall and remaining calm;
  • walking away. 
  1. Teach your child how to say in a firm voice the following:

"I don't like what you are doing."

"Please do NOT talk to me like that."

"Why would you say that?" 

  1. Your child should also know when and how to ask for help. 
  2. Encourage your child to make friends with other children. 
  3. Support your child’s hobbies.
  4. Notify school officials about the problems and look for solutions together. 
  5. Make sure there is always an adult who can watch out for your child's safety when you cannot be there.
  6. Intercept your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can spot problems before they get out of hand.

When Your Child Is the Bully 

  1. Explain that bullying is not OK. 
  2. Set firm and consistent limits on your child's inappropriate and aggressive conduct. 
  3. Be a positive role mode. Show the child that teasing, threatening or hurting someone is not the only way to get what he wants. 
  4. Introduce to kids that bully effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges. 
  5. Work on developing practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, and parents of the children your child has bullied.

When Your Child Is a Bystander

  1. Make sure your child knows that encouraging or even quietly watching bullying is no good. 
  2. Tell your child to let a trusted adult know about the bullying. 
  3. Encourage your child to support other children who are bullied. Tell your child to include these children in various activities. 
  4. Ask your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.

Before and After School Child Care 

Naturally children who only begin attending school and even middle school children should be supervised by a responsible adult who would help them get ready and off to school in the morning and look after them in the afternoon during out of school time.

Youngsters of 11- and 12-year-olds should not come home after school to an empty house unless they are extremely mature and responsible for their age. 

If you can’t provide a constant adult supervision for your children, it is advisable to do your best to supervise them from a distance. Establish a set time when your kids are expected to return home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone. 

There are very many after school youth programs that offer children a wide range of interesting stuff to do after school. When choosing a kids club after school program, inquire about the training of the staff. Before your kid joins the selected after school program or club make sure there is a high staff-to-child ratio, and the rooms and the playground are safe.

Developing Good Homework and Study Habits 

Many parents would like their children to be more organized and look for the ways of developing good study habits for kids. Below we offer you tips on how to improve study habits of children which will help them study better at school.

  1. School children need environment that would encourage them to do their homework therefore youngsters should have a permanent work space in their bedroom or any other part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and comfortable for studying.
  2. Make sure you schedule enough time for homework. 
  3. Set a firm rule that the TV set is off during homework time. 
  4. Supervise computer and Internet use.
  5. Always be willing to answer questions and offer help, but refuse to do a child's homework for him or her. 
  6. Working on homework children may have eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue. Stretching, closing the books for a few minutes, and taking a short break periodically might help overcome tiredness.
  7. If your child is falling behind in a particular subject, and you can’t help him or her yourself, consider hiring a tutor. But be sure to discuss this with your child's teacher first. 
  8. If your children need assistance organizing their homework, checklists, timers, and parental supervision will help overcome difficulties.