Related Results

What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers

What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers
Keeping Children Safe

Monday, August 13, 2012

Getting Children Started on a Safe and Positive New School Year

"Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel, and shining morning face, creeping like a snail, unwillingly to school." This quote from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, give us a vivid description of the dread and trepidation that some children face when starting a new school year. It doesn’t have to be that way, however.

Parents can play a very effective role in getting their children off to a good start for the new school year. To do so, parents must see their role as being one that involves more than just purchasing their children’s school supplies and new school clothes. Parents have an additional and important role that can positively impact their children’s attitudes about school, success in school, and safety in school.

Affecting Children’s Attitude about School

Ted Feinberg, EdD and member of the National Association of School Psychologists, advises,
“Getting a new school year off to a good start can influence children’s attitude, confidence, and performance both socially and academically. The transition from August to September can be difficult for both children and parents. Even children who are eager to return to class must adjust to the greater levels of activity, structure, and, for some, pressures associated with school life.”

Parents can help their children have a better attitude about returning to school by planning ahead and exhibiting a positive attitude about school themselves. Before school starts, parents should make sure their children are in good mental and physical health with medical, dental, and visual check-ups.

Parents should carefully review any material sent by the school before school begins and during the school year. Parents should familiarize themselves with their children’s teachers, room numbers, school supply requirements, sign-ups for extra-curricular sports and activities, school calendar dates, bus transportation, health and emergency forms. Parents may also want to consider taking advantage of any school volunteer opportunities. Parents who stay involved in the school foster better attitudes about school in their children.

Affecting Children’s Success in School

With the start of the new school year establish bedtime and mealtime routines. Parents should talk to their children about the benefits of school routines so that they will not become overly tired or overwhelmed by school work and after-school activities.

Part of the routine should be to turn off the television shortly before bedtime and, instead, encourage them to play quiet games, or do puzzles and flash cards. Parents should endeavor to maintain this practice throughout the school year.

Parents should designate a spacious and quiet place for their children to do homework. Parents can give older children the option of studying in their room or a quiet area of the house. Parents with younger children, however, should designate a quiet area in the family room or kitchen in order to facilitate adult monitoring, and any needed supervision or encouragement. In addition, parents should encourage children to do their homework before any television or play activities. Homework should be done without the distraction of television or any other kind of auditory or visual distraction.

Affecting a Safe School Year for Children

Parents should talk to their children about school playground safety and about riding the school bus safely. In addition parents should teach children how to stay safe in going to and from school. My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, teaches that the buddy system is a good safety strategy for children. Children should never walk to and from school alone. Young children should be accompanied by an adult if they must walk to school. Older children should walk to and from school with a friend.

If parents normally drive their children to and from school, parents should instruct their children always to wait in a safe place to be picked up by them after school, and parents should strive to be on time in picking up their children after school. If children can wait inside the school, that is the safest thing to do. If children must wait outside, however, parents should insist that they wait in a safe spot right in front of the school where there will be other children and teachers around.

My book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers, also offers safety strategies for children who must wait at a school bus stop. Children should never wait at a school bus stop alone. The safest strategy, particularly for small children is to have their parents wait with them. Parents may consider organizing with other parents to take turns waiting with children at the school bus stop. Such an organization of parents is sometimes referred to as Block Parents. After all, as it has been said, “It takes a village….”

My book also teaches children, while waiting at the school bus stop, to stay as far away from the street as possible. The more children at the bus stop, the safer. Small children should stand in the middle of the group of other children for better protection.
Bullying can also present a serious problem for children and teens when they return to school. Bullying is an increasing threat to the happiness, security, and safety of children.  Parents can better help their children deal with any potential bullying dilemma by reading and teaching their children the strategies offered in my article
CopingWith a Bully: How to Stop Bullying”

In conclusion, parents who employ all of these back-to-school practices can better guarantee a healthier, happier, safer, and more successful school year.
Photograph credit: Guillermo Ossa

No comments:

Post a Comment