School Days

It wasn’t long ago when the question was what to do with kids for the summer. Now the conversation returns to matters of back-to-school.  There are a few components to these considerations. How to approach shopping (probably those brand-new sneakers from spring received significant wear and tear at camp—assuming they still fit), sitting down with the calendar to figure how extra-curricular activities are going to co-ordinate among siblings and friends, ensuring your child(ren) are mentally prepared for the stress of meeting a new teacher, new classmates, and advancement of studies (this is especially important if starting at a new school or if summer activities didn’t include much social integration or scholastic activity.)

But first—how are you going to spend the remainder of the summer?!

The weeks prior to the start of school may be a great opportunity for hikes, biking, picnics at parks, evening games and puzzles, or trips to museums, movie theaters, or sports events. What’s showing at local live performance theaters?

Preparation of Necessities:
School supplies (including wardrobe) are often fairly basic, but usually schools provide a list of required supplies ahead of time.  Stores often run back-to-school specials on pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, backpacks, rulers, scissors, and lunch containers. There’s the risk of a sudden growth spurt if you start shopping for clothing too soon.

Creating a Schedule & Routine:
Don’t let early morning wake-up calls arrive as a shock the first day of school. Start practicing early-morning alarm setting a week or so before school starts; however, it’s not only the school day to think about. What extracurricular activities will your kids participate in? Music lessons? Dance classes? Art lessons? Soccer? Be sure to check all schedules to avoid double-booking and consider how much driving you want to commit to—if one child has theater group Tuesdays at 4:00, is it feasible for another to sign up for painting across town at 4:15?

The Psychology of Social and Academic Preparation:
Organization of parents and children directly impacts school success, and there is no better place to start than your own home. Prior to the start of school, Janelle Cox, writing for Teach Hub, suggests selecting a well-lit (but temperature comfortable) area of the house where your child or children can work on their homework uninterrupted and undistracted—but with a parent available to assist if needed. She also reminds of the importance of parent organization for handouts, permission slips and information notices sent by the school.

Erin Dower provides warnings signs of anxiety disorders to watch for in her article for Family Education:  stomachaches, insomnia, headaches, and obsessive tendencies. Some children develop obvious symptoms in the form of panic attacks, other symptoms are more subtle. Professional help may be required if such symptoms persist.