More Back-to-School Tips from OICA
OKLAHOMA CITY – Last week, I shared tips from different professionals about safety when traveling to and from school. This week let’s talk about ideas on how to prepare for the schedule of the school year.
Reducing School Anxiety
Point out the positive aspects of starting school to help your kids look forward to class. Talk about how it was to see old friends and meet new ones, for example. Many children get nervous about new situations, including changing to a new school, classroom or teacher. This may happen at any age.
Remind them that there are a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. If your child seems nervous, ask them what they are worried about and help them problem-solve ways to master the new situation.
Plan Bedtime and Wake-up Routine
Getting enough sleep is critical for a child to be successful in school. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for younger children is 10-12 hours per night and for adolescents (13-18 year of age) is in the range of 8-10 hours per night.
Set a consistent bedtime for your child and stick with it every night. Having a regular bedtime routine will help your child settle down and fall asleep.
Components of a calming pre-bedtime routine may involve a bath/shower, reading with them, and tucking them in and saying good night to them. Have your child turn off electronic devices well before bedtime. Try to have the home as quiet and calm as possible when younger children are trying to fall asleep.
Create a Pleasant Homework Environment
It is particularly important to create a friendly and positive atmosphere for doing homework once school starts. Set up a permanent study room or area for your kids which is free from distractions and provides a peaceful and positive learning environment.
Schedule ample time for homework. Build this time into choices about participating in after school activities. Also, establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.
By high school, it is common for teachers to ask students to submit homework electronically and perform other tasks on a computer. If your child does not have access to a computer or the internet at home, work with teachers and school administration to develop appropriate accommodations.
Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. Good lighting is key. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
If your child is struggling with a particular subject, speak with their teacher for recommendations on how to help your child at home or at school. If you have concerns about the assignments your child is receiving, talk with their teacher.
If your child is having difficulty focusing on or completing homework, discuss this with your child’s teacher, school counselor or health care provider. For general homework problems that cannot be worked out with the teacher, a tutor may be considered.
We at the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy hope the school year is successful for your children!