1. Making the First Day Easier
- If your child seems nervous, remind him or her that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible. Your child will see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh his or her positive memories about previous years, when he or she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because of a good time.
- If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.
- If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with him or her) to school and pick him or her up on the first day.
2. Backpack Safety
- Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
- Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. Go through the pack with your child weekly, and remove unneeded items to keep it light.
- The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
- Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
- Adjust the pack so that the bottom sits at the waist.
- If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, and they may not fit in some lockers.
3. Traveling To and From School
- Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
- Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
- Make sure your child walks where he or she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see him or her, too).
- Remind your child to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.
- Your child should not move around on the bus.
- If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus.
4. Eating During the School Day
- Children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.
- Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home and/or have them posted on the school's website. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones.
A. When Your Child Is Bullied
- Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
- Teach your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help.
- Recognize the serious nature of bullying and acknowledge your child's feelings about being bullied.
Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:
- Look the bully in the eye.
- Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
- Walk away.
Teach your child how to say in a firm voice:
- "I don't like what you are doing"
- "Please do NOT talk to me like that"
- "Why would you say that?"
- Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
- Support activities that interest your child.
- Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child's safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
- Monitor your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.
B. When Your Child Is the Bully
- Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
- Set firm and consistent limits on your child's aggressive behavior.
- Be a positive role model. Show children they can get what they want without teasing, threatening, or hurting someone.
- Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
- Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, school social workers or psychologists, and parents of the children your child has bullied.
C. When Your Child Is a Bystander
- Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying. Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.
- Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.
6. Developing Good Homework & Study Habits
- Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework starting at a young age. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
- Schedule ample time for homework; build this time into choices about participation in after school activities.
- Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.
- Supervise computer and Internet use.
- Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do your child's homework for him or her.
- Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. 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 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.
- Establish a good sleep routine. 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 most adolescents (13 to 18 years of age) is in the range of 8 to 10 hours per night.