Back To School
Summer vacation is coming to an end and this echoes a new chapter in the lives of school age children and parents.
As a matter of fact, the start of a new school year brings about changes in almost every family with children at school or college.
For some, the first child is off to pre school while in another family, the first child is off to secondary school and one might be entering primary school or a first child is going off to college or the last one is leaving for college, creating an empty nest.
After two months out of the routine for school, parents and children need to start to get back on track to ensure a smooth beginning of the new school year.
For children going into a new school or a new class, school supplies and books need to be purchased and as usual, uniforms, shoes and school bags all need to be bought or made.
For those going into college, there is a bit more to be done such as registration, payment of fees and sometimes getting air travel sorted.
While most of the above are usually sorted in time, there are some things that are even more important that tend to be played down. Here are a few important things that every parent should seek to do for children going back to school or starting school.
General Medical check up: Before your child goes back to school, it is wise to have a medical/physical check up as any illness can affect school performance.
Childdren should be checked to make sure that they are developing well and that they had all vaccines required for a healthy child. Futhermore, you should speak to your doctor about any concerns about your child's nutrition, weight and even behaviour and mental health issues. Call and make that appointment.
Eyes Check up: An eye exam may not be on you list for back to school but it should be. No amount of new uniforms, shoes, backpacks or pencils will help your child succeed in school if they have an undetected problem with their vision and that makes it very important for you to schedule a visit to have your child's eyes tested.
Did you know that many children struggle needlessly with vision problems simply because they don’t know they have one. For a child in school, vision correction can make all the difference in their academic performance as well as their ability to play sports and interact with others. Eye exams ensure that children are seeing and feeling their best.
The amount of increased screen use during the holidays (smartphones and tablets) exposed children have an impact on users’ blink rate and tear production, and can even cause symptoms of dry eye disease in young people with otherwise healthy eyes and that makes it necessary to do an eye examination before going back to school.
So why not get your child that needed eye check, before he or she returns to school. Calll and make that appointment.
Dental Check Up: Children with poor oral health are likely to miss school as a result of dental pain and this can result in poor academic performance.
Early detection and prevention can help your child avoid absences from school because of pain or sickness caused by cavities.
Also, this timely dental check-up can help your child get back on track with a healthy dental routine, which can often fall by the wayside during the more relaxed summer months.
So if your child did not have a dental check up as yet this summer, call and make that appointment.
Speech and Hearing: It is very important that hearing concerns and speech/languge concerns are addressed as soon as possible and surely before the start of school year.
The slightest of hearing lost can put a child at risk for academic and communication difficulties. Like wise, children who are unable to speak and pronounce words properly are also at risk for poor academic performances.
Hearing specialists and speech/language specialist can evaluate and help remediate speech and language difficulties in areas related to phonemic awareness (early literacy skills such as rhyming and sound blending), articulation, oral motor skills, apraxia, stuttering, voice disorders, auditory and language processing skills, expressive and receptive language and vocabulary, and developmental delays and they can provide critical intervention of speech and language disorders in order for your child to excel academically.
Call and schedule an appointment with your speech and language specialist.
Evaluation: How did your child perform during the last school year? If you are concerned about the low scores on your child's report, maybe you should get a private evaluation to see what can be done to help your child perform better in the classroom. Evaluations can tell you if you child is suffering from issues such as dyslexia and ADHD or if there is a learning challenge and you will be guided to the necessary course of action.
Call and get your evaluation done.
Bullying: Bullying in schools has become a major conern and at some schools more than others and it is very important that parents have a sit down session with their children about bullying as it can have traumatic consequences for a child, leading to poor school performance, low self-esteem, anxiety, and even depression.
Every child needs to understand what constitutes bullying and what they can do to avoid being bully, not to be the bully and how they can stop bullying when they see it. Please check our section on bullying.
When your child is the one teasing and threatening, you need to take action right away -- not just for the sake of the victims but to nip this behavior in the bud. If you're unsure, watch for these warning signs and speak sternly to your child. If you think that he or she has a problem with his behaviour, seek help from a doctor or psychologist. Please check our section on bullying.
Sleep routine: Most children have been out of their usual sleep pattern during the summer vacation and its time to start getting back into the school routine of going to sleep early enough to get the neeed 8 hours every night. Parents should also practice getting back into the routine that they need to be in as they also have to be up earlier to get the children moving.
Reading: Get your child focus on studying again. Encourage them to read any book, but it would help if they start to read their school text books. This can help them start school well prepared for their new work load and put them in the right frame of mind for studying.
Have them reading: Get them into a routine of reading before school starts to get them in the frame of mind.
Encourage them: It might seem simple and for some taken for granted. But children do face a lot in the school environment with peer pressure, and the burden of finding their own identity. They are sometimes even filled with self doubt especially if they did not do well at the end of the last school term. Give them a few words of encouragement to make them feel more confident for that first day back.
One last Treat: Decide on a day and give them one last summer treat. It can be a day at the beach, the last week at a summer camp, a pizza party, taking in the movies or having a last sleep over, but give them that last treat and end summer on a high note.