Buying school supplies can be the fun part but other preparations are far more important. These preparations are important because they can add to the confidence your children have when they start the new school year.
1. Nurture independence in your child. Remember that you will not be present when he or she deals with school events and classes. Have conversations with your children and discuss responsibilities and what is expected.
- Organization of materials
- Writing down assignments
- Bringing home homework
You can prepare younger children making sure that they can write their names and tie their own shoes so that they won’t need assistance. It will be less likely that bullies will start targeting your child. Yes. Bullies are out there in elementary schools too.
2. Re-Establish School Routines. A great time to get kids used to the new school schedule is a week or two before school starts. Schedule morning activities and set the alarm at the same time that you will when school starts. For younger children, you can even start having them eat breakfast, lunch and snacks at about the same time as will be the case when they are at school.
3. When the time comes, talk to the teachers and attend school open houses. This is a great time to meet your child’s teachers, school counselors, the principle, and front desk staff. Often you will get a good idea of each teacher’s expectations. Teachers are all different and some may focus on accuracy and others may focus on learning new skills. It is always a good idea to have the schedule of tests so that you can be aware of the specific preparations for a test.
4. Designate a particular place where children place their knapsacks, etc. That way, there will be no last minute panics when they can’t find something. Post it notes on a book bag for reminders helps too.
5. Set up a specific place and time when children do homework. Whether parents are working outside of the home or in the home, the kitchen table can be a great place for younger children. Parents should be available to help if needed and parents who are in the process of preparing a meal are right there.
6. Plan for sick days. Line up a trusted person or arrange a group of parents that can pick up your child from school in the case that you can’t get away from work. Don’t forget to sign the appropriate paperwork for the school to release your child to them.
7. If at all possible, working parents should try to be home when children arrive home from school for the first few weeks.
As you prepare your children, please keep in mind the possibility that they could be bullying or could be bullied. Teach them that they could be the ones to help stop bullying by their example. Watch them and listen to them. You won’t be sorry!
Seventeen year old Carlos Vigil of Valencia County, New Mexico has now become a statistic. He tried to make a difference for bullied kids but attempted suicide himself. The image below is the last Twitter message that Carlos sent. He was taken off of life support yesterday. Even though people were aware that he was being victimized, they didn’t suspect the depth of his pain.
The young man would have been a senior in the fall. He had changed schools the previous year to escape bullies. His parents said that he had been teased for being gay, his weight, his acne and having a lazy eye. Vigil had just returned from a trip to North Carolina where he was helping to lobby for an anti-bullying bill there.
Vigil’s mother is quoted, “He had this lunch box, a smiley face lunch box, and people thought it was the funniest lunchbox ever, and they made fun of him for it. They grabbed it on the school bus and just threw it on the floor and broke it. It’s just little things like that.”
Please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 for help.