Preparing your child properly to do well in school each day is not just a matter of making sure that they have done their homework. It is also important to be sure that you prepare them physically, sending them to school with as much energy as possible in order to make the most of their day. This means that you need to make sure that you feed them right to fuel their educational career.
When the school day starts, your children need to have the proper fuel to get going and keep going. The first step is a healthy and complete breakfast. When your child gets up in the morning they are running on empty. It has literally been hours since their last meal, the longest time that they will go without eating during the course of their day. Without breakfast, their body has no fuel and no ability to cope with the demands that your child will make upon it.
It is almost worse, however, to provide an inferior breakfast. Sugar and fat filled breakfasts bring your child's energy level up just enough to get them to school and into class before crashing. This leaves your child sluggish and inattentive for the most important part of the school day. So what should your child eat to fuel their day?
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but your child needs to eat throughout the day to maintain their energy and performance. Don't forget to offer them a healthy lunch option that will build upon the foundation you have set with their breakfast. If you can, it is best to give your child a bagged lunch rather than allowing them to buy one at school. This will provide you with some measure of control over the nutritional content of their meal.
A good lunch should be lighter than breakfast, but it should be planned with the same considerations in mind. Pack small servings of a variety of foods and try to make sure that you include something from each food group. This will allow your child to pick and choose what they'd like to eat, while still getting a relatively healthy meal. If you do it right, their lunch will carry them all the way through their afternoon and on into dinner.
Your child's move to college is a momentous event. For eighteen years you have striven to make it to this day, the day when your child is ready to leave the house and begin learning to enter the adult world. Though your responsibilities do not end and you will forever define yourself as a parent, your role is changing. Most of the responsibility for your child's well being has shifted from your shoulders to theirs.
If you have not prepared for this change, then it can hit you hard. The attachment to your child does not end when they leave, after all. You may find yourself struggling to cope with the change, feeling empty and even depressed if you find that you cannot. But there are ways to ease into this transition and to lessen its impact. After all, your child's move to college is a moment of success for you as a parent. It is something that you should be able to celebrate and appreciate.
During your child's teen years, it will become apparent that they are getting ready to become independent. It's a natural part of a teenager's development that is signaled by getting a driver's license or a job, even dating. Let those signs be a wake up call to you. Its time to get ready for the final break. There are two things that you will want to focus on here. The first is preparing your child for this change.
Make sure that your child will be ready to handle independence when they get there or you will never know a night of peace during their collage career. The second is taking back center stage in your own life. This means taking a hard look at your life and your goals in order to adjust them so that you are once again the priority. You may find that you pick up hobbies and interests that have fallen by the wayside over the years. You may choose to throw yourself into a new degree or career. You may decide to begin traveling with your spouse. But by the time your child leaves the house, you will want to be fully engrossed in your own life.
Your child's departure will leave a hole in your life; no matter how prepared you think you are. It is important that you recognize that fact and accept the feelings that come with it. Trying to deny yourself the right to grieve or feel guilty or even get angry will only exacerbate the negative emotions. Instead, give yourself permission to feel your emotions and then move on to more positive thoughts and actions.
Make a point of keeping in touch with your child, while refraining from smothering them. Their happiness and successes will help you to put your feelings into perspective and cope. Over time, you will find that your preparations have worked, that you have enough new interests and activities in your life to excite you while still leaving room for your child's new position in your world.
College sometimes seems like it will never arrive in your child's life. It is such a momentous transition that it looms over your decisions for years. It lingers on the horizon determining how you save your money and where you send your child to school and then all of a sudden it arrives and your child is ready to leave home for good.
Though they will come back for laundry and support, you child will be forever changed by the experience and they will never come back to live under your roof in completely the same way again. You may think that you have spent your child's entire existence working towards getting them to the point of leaving for college, but it is still important to take some time and go over a few last life skills to prepare your child for college.
Your child's main goals at college should be academic in nature. Though college provides an opportunity to explore many other aspects of adult life, the reason that your child is there is to obtain a degree that will help them later in life. For this reason, make sure that your child is equipped with the tools of academic success before they leave the home. In college, your child will need to be responsible for their own academic success as no one will send home progress reports or offer to help your child catch up if they are struggling. Instead, your child will need to become their own advocate as they navigate the college system. Make sure they are equipped to do so.
During your child's high school years take the time to encourage good study skills and habits, organization, proper note taking, and good writing skills. These are some of the tools your child will need to employ to succeed in their college classes.
College is also a time when your child will begin to take over the responsibilities that define adult lives. For the next four or more years, your child will have a safety net in you and in the college infrastructure. Dorms, laundry facilities, and food will be provided for your student and a whole staff will maintain the buildings they live in. Still, your child will be forced to begin taking responsibility for the way that they live. Make sure that you have encouraged them to learn the skills they will need before they leave for college.
These include choosing a nutritious meal, balancing a budget, doing their own laundry, and even cleaning up after themselves. Some students won't even think about these things before they leave for school so it is up to you, as a parent, to satisfy yourself that your child will be able to handle them. You can do this by gradually increasing your child's responsibilities at home. This will allow them to practice necessary skills under your eye. Preparing your child properly to succeed in college will make letting them go that much easier, simply because you know that they will be able to manage on their own. In the end, you'll all be happier when the time comes to leave.
The move to middle school is a big moment in your child's life. It will impact their social and academic careers for years to come. It is alright for you and your child to view this moves with some trepidation at first, but remember that with a little work you can ease the transition and set the stage to help your child succeed in middle school. The worst thing that you can do at this time in your child's life is to back off.
Many parents who are very involved in their child's academic life during elementary school assume that their child's growing independence is a sign that they do not need to monitor their child's studies so closely. Middle school is a transitional time, however, and if you back off just when your student needs you, then you are sending the wrong message to your child at a delicate point in their development. Helping your child succeed in middle school may mean altering they way you monitor their studies, but it should not mean that you stop altogether.
Studies show that most middle school students face three main issues when it comes to successful schoolwork. These are:
Most schools have strategies in place to address these issues, but it is up to you to enforce these ideas at home. Your child's teachers simply cannot do the work alone, nor should they have to. As your child moves into a school day with multiple classes and teachers, give them the tools to help navigate the situation. Teach your child to employ to do lists, planners, and organizers.
Pick out school supplies designed to help them keep their papers and assignments organized and help them to make sure that nothing gets lost in the shuffle. On task learning and relevance may seem more difficult for you to assist with, but you can still make the effort at home.
This is the most important thing that you can do to ensure your student's success in middle school. You should be involved in all areas of your child's life at this age and not just the academic ones. You need to know what your child is doing and who your child is doing it with at all times in order to keep track of their lives.
Academically speaking, you should make sure that you have met and spoken with your child's teachers, that you are discussing your child's studies with them in depth, and that you know that their assignments are getting done. You should also be displaying pride and interest in your child's extracurricular activities. This is a time for building the relationship with your child even as they become more independent.
Finally, do not hesitate to enforce rules and discipline your child. At this time in their lives, children are testing the boundaries and they need to be reinforced while your child is still listening to you.
High school hazing is a complex issue. Some people see it as nothing more than a high-spirited set of rituals designed to bond a group and enforce a hierarchy. The mentality is roughly that if you can survive all this together, then you'll be a part of the pack.
You can only survive if you follow the leaders. Others think of hazing as a much more dangerous phenomenon. They recall horror stories about pranks gone wrong or children whose alienation leads to their deaths of those of other children. No matter what you think about the issue of hazing however, it is important that you be aware of it and how it might be affecting your child.
Though many people defend hazing rituals as valuable traditions, hazing is actually a practice that is designed to enforce the power of the group over chosen victims. It is therefore illegal in forty-two of the states. In addition, most colleges have instituted anti hazing policies and rules to govern the practice and prevent it. Despite the attempts to end hazing practices by making it clear how unacceptable they are, hazing continues to occur in our society.
It continues to be excused by both observers and participants. High schools are a common site for hazing, particularly in the athletic teams and in other activity related clubs and groups. The practice is particularly dangerous at this age because of the fragility of the developing adolescent. Your child's much needed self respect is truly under threat by hazing behavior. The effects can be powerful and far reaching whether they are the victim or a participant.
It is important to be concerned about hazing and take a strong offensive position against the practice. Hazing is such an entrenched part of the culture, and one that is reinforced by mass media as well as other adult role models that you need to take a stand as soon as the issue raises its head. Begin by discovering the school's position on the matter. Some schools have taken the first necessary step and have anti hazing policies in place to protect their students. Alone these policies may not do much.
You will need to find out if they are enforced. If you think your child is the victim of hazing behaviors, then bring the matter to the attention of the school. You should also be aware of the law in your state. That way, if you encounter resistance to your attempts to shut hazing down, you can use the law to provide your efforts with the support you need.
Remember that the practice is illegal in most states. In addition, there are many states that make civil suits regarding hazing possible. You can use this information as ammunition in the fight. The most important thing you can do, however, is to stand up for your child and any other who might be a victim of hazing. Let the world know that hazing is not okay and that you will fight to stop it.
As a parent, you are deeply invested in raising a child who will one day be capable of taking care of themselves in the adult world. Though your child has had you around to support and care for them from day one, there will come a day when you cannot be there and you want your child to be prepared for that day. This means teaching your child basic life skills, something you have endeavored to do, and as your child becomes a teen, you begin to look for evidence that those lessons are taking hold.
Once your child has left for college, you want to know that they will be handy enough to perform the basic tasks of self and household maintenance on their own. You want your teen to be able to do their own laundry, plan and execute their own meals, clean a bathroom, or make a budget.
In order to raise a handy teen and make certain that the lessons stick, you are going to have to insist upon your teen shouldering some of the household responsibilities. This may not be too difficult if your teen has been accustomed to performing regular chores as they grow up. All children should be encouraged, even required, to do age appropriate chores so that you can teach them necessary life skills.
If your teen has not been doing chores all their life though, you may have a battle on your hands when you get started. If this is the case, start small, with just a few minor assignments. You can build on them over time. Take the time to demonstrate how each chore should be done and why so that your teen is not thrown into the task blind.
Make sure that your teen knows that you are expecting them to complete their list of chores and that there will be consequences if they do not, but help them to succeed. You can do this by:
If you can consistently enforce the need to step up and do chores, then your child will learn the skills that they need to take care of their own dorm room or apartment in the future. Raising a handy teen is simply a matter of teaching and modeling skills, insisting that they be used and used appropriately, and praising your child when they have performed the tasks you ask of them.
Not only will you be teaching your teen necessary skills, you will be equipping them with a sense of personal responsibility that they can carry with them throughout their lives.
As concerns about childhood obesity become more and more prevalent in the United States, we have become more and more critical of our children's food choices. We can make the effort to control our children's diet from an early age, but that only works for so long. Sooner or later, our children will begin to make their own decisions about their diet and the foods that they eat.
Nowhere is this more apparent than when our children are at school. School lunches, be they sack lunches or cafeteria lunches, are a serious point of contention when it comes to teaching your child to eat right. Whichever way you choose to go, you have to worry about whether or not your child will eat the food that is best for them.
The best way to cope with your concerns is to make proper nutrition a regular part of your lives at home. It should be both a topic of conversation and a regularly modeled behavior. Schools are providing healthier lunch options-especially since they have to meet federal regulations regarding nutritional content, but children are still free to pick and choose among the food offerings to create their own meal.
Once you give your child the money to buy their lunch, you cannot control whether they buy a candy bar and a sugary soda or a sandwich and an apple. If you do not take the time to educate your child about good nutrition practices, then they will never learn to use those practices in their own lives.
Once you have made sure that you are modeling proper food eating habits and educated your child about the fundamentals of good dietary choices, it is important to give them a chance to put their new knowledge to work. The easiest way to do this is to pack a lunch or plan a meal with your child's help. Let your child be an active part of the planning process, while providing them with appropriate options.
Asking if your child would like carrots or broccoli for dinner is a lot different than suggesting they pick between marshmallows and green beans. This will give your child a chance to put the concepts of nutrition into practice under your guidance.
Finally, if you must choose cafeteria lunches over packed lunches, be sure that your child knows how to navigate the menu. School lunch offerings must comply with federal rulings on nutrition, but your child will have the last word on what they choose to eat off the tray. Teach your child to avoid a la carte options that tend to be lower in nutritional value and instead focus their attention on the salad bar.
Remind them to make sure that they are eating all of the necessary food groups in their meal and encourage them to stay away from vending machines. And whatever you do, do not turn unwanted food choices into forbidden fruits. The occasional slip won't harm your child, but the dogged pursuit of foods they can't have might.
The truth is, all children will struggle with their schoolwork at one point or another. Education is work, after all. However fascinating it may be at times, it is also something that must be done day in and day out whether or not your child is feeling inspired. Just as you are sometimes bored, frustrated, or tired of your responsibilities from time to time so too will your child become bored, frustrated, or tired of theirs.
If the problems with schoolwork are recurrent, however, and your child must work harder than you think necessary to master the skills of their grade level, then you might need to step in and address the issue.
The best thing that you can do to help your struggling child is to get involved with their studies. Information is power and in order to help solve a problem, you must first understand it. Make sure that you are aware of what is going on in the classroom. It will help you to diagnose the underlying problem. If you suspect your child is having trouble, don't wait for their teacher to contact you, reach out to them instead.
It's best to nip these kinds of problems in the bud. Contact your child's teacher by email first; it is less intrusive than a phone call or visit. Explain your concerns and request their input on how to cope with them. Teachers are trained for this, after all.
Knowing what is going on in your child's classroom can help you to provide them with the support that they need at home. When your child is struggling in school it is up to you to be their sounding board. Help them with their studies, but make sure that you also help them with their emotional burdens.
With your help, your child will get through this period of scholastic challenge without too much difficulty. What is important is to catch these issues early, while they are still easily dealt with. If your child's difficulties go unattended for too long, they may end up with damaging holes in their knowledge base. If they continue, your child may become irreparably alienated from their studies. This is why it is so important to keep your finger on the pulse of your child's school life. It is the best possible way to identify potential problems and begin to deal with them.
Choosing the best school for your child can be a daunting task. Your child's educational facility will, after all, influence many different facets of their life both now and in the future. Every day, your child will attend this institution, which will care for them while it lays the foundation of their education and equips them for their adult lives. It may seem like you will only have one chance to make the right choice before the path of your child's education is set.
Fortunately, it's not nearly so serious as that. No matter where your child goes to school, his or her education will always depend as much on your involvement as on the school itself. This is still an important choice, however, and it behooves you to take the time to think it over carefully. These days, parents have many different options available to them, but for most the choice is still defined by two poles: public and private school.
The main differences between public and private schools all come down to their funding, Private schools are funded via private sources like tuition, fundraising, and grants. Public schools are funded by the government. In both cases, the source of the funding inflects the schools and the students on many levels.
Public schools are governed by the rules and regulations that politics and politicians set. They tend to be under funded and vulnerable to budget changes, shortfalls, and overages. This results in programs that are subject to change and designed to serve a wider range of individuals.
Private schools, on the other hand, are often governed by the sensibilities of the alumni and other donors. They tend to exercise their privilege of exclusion in order to create a school with a very specific vision or mission, for example: a catholic school will work to create students who are educated in the faith as well as in more standard subjects.
There are, of course, other general differences between public and private schools. Many people refer to studies that suggest that private schools have higher test scores or better funding for everything from teachers to instruments. Others argue that public schools are better equipped to receive students with special needs or teach specialty programs in athletics and science. The answers are not that clear cut, however. Some private schools do have higher scores or better funding. Some do not. The same goes for public schools.
When you are making a decision about your child's education, don't just cast it between public and private. You need more information if you want to make the right choice for your child. Instead, research the schools in your area and then arrange to tour them. Only by becoming familiar with the specific educational options in your area can you choose the right school for your child. Otherwise you are making your decision in a vacuum and picking blindly. Finally, make sure you consult your child in this decision-he or she will have to attend the school-not you.
The middle school years are a difficult time for children. Studies show that they are a transitional point in the academic career, one with a great deal of significance for future academic success or failure. It is a place where future habits and vices are formed. This is the place where children begin to get lost in the system, entering a cycle that can end in a complete loss of interest in school.
Drop out students are made in middle schools when they get lost in the shuffle. Middle school can also be a place of great excitement for your child. It is a time that falls squarely into the abyss between childhood and adolescence, some children make it across that no man's land easily and some do not. One predictor of a child's success is their parents' involvement.
Middle school marks a significant change in most children's academic life. This is the first time that children are put into the period system. Changing classes multiple times a day offers children both more and less structure. Class times are rigid, but the breaks between classes offer new ways to break up the day. They have multiple teachers now, who may make competing demands on their time.
They meet many more people as their classes change with each period. The upshot is that life gets a lot more chaotic. Some children thrive on this change, but others are more likely to slip to the sidelines. You can help prepare your child for the change in structure by providing them with the tools they need to organize their lives and impose order.
You can also help by sharing your remembrances of school, providing access to a sense of what the new order may be like so that your child is not completely surprised by it. This type of conversation may also allow you an opportunity to explore your child's feelings about middle school and reassure them.
You should make a point of arranging for your child to visit his or her new school before the new school year starts. Most middle schools offer some kind of orientation for their newest students, attending will help your child get a sense of the environment and learn the names and faces of teachers and counselors. It can also help your child begin to make sense of how to choose their classes, an important new skill.
Throughout this process you should be available in the background to support your child. If you can, stop by and meet the teachers and counselors for yourself so that you know who will be teaching your child and what their social and academic options may be. As your child begins to make the transition to middle school student, be sure to keep the lines of communication open at home and at school. This will help you stay involved in your child's educational success.
Homework can be a battle even for the best of children. No one wants to do work after they have finished for the day and children are no exception. Despite this, and despite the fact that elementary school homework is usually fairly light, it is important that you fight these battles now. It will help your child learn the strategies that will get them through school and life.
Proper study skills, including organization and discipline, are just as important as the fundamental academic concepts you child is learning. If you don't help your child to learn these skills at home, however, they might never come into them on their own-especially if your child is smart enough to skate by without them.
When you child begins school be prepared to create a regular homework routine. Making a place for homework on the regular schedule reinforces the idea that it is a permanent and important part of life. It also nips the idea of procrastination in the bud. Designate a specific space for homework time, one with no distractions, and set your child up in this space every night for an appropriate length of time.
If your child had no homework from school, then use the time for the study of concepts and subjects that your child is having trouble with. Alternatively treat it as a quiet reading time. Make sure homework time happens every night at the same time without fail. This will help your child to establish a habit of doing homework.
One of the hardest parts of helping your child with their homework is learning to lead them to answers without simply giving them the answers. It is very easy to answer a question, but it is much harder and more trying to try and inch your child down a foreign path of thought or reasoning. Despite this, you must resist the urge to answer. If you don't, you might as well do the child's work for them. At the same time that you must refrain from answering though, it is important to make yourself available to your child during homework time.
An involved parent is an invaluable learning tool. If your child wants your help then it is important that they have access to it. Staying involved will also help you to know where your child needs work and what you can do to help. For example, a child that needs to improve their skills at solving word problems might benefit by being asked to translate every day occurrences into the word problems they struggle with. Ask your child to tell you how many quarters they should get if their allowance is two dollars and then pay them accordingly.
Translating school skills to the practical space of your life will help your child see the connections and succeed. Your involvement can also catch problems with your child's academic endeavors while they are still easily fixed and before they become serious.
Reading is one of the most important skills for young children to have. Though there are continual articles bemoaning the death of the lifelong reader and the written words that have sustained him, studies continue to show that a child's reading skills, besides being a fairly reliable predictor of academic success, are a gift that will stick with them through thick and thin.
Computers and other electronic media may seem to be replacing traditional reading materials, but many of the practical and critical skills that underlie the act remain the same. Reading is reading on both page and screen. For all these reasons, it is important to most parents to raise a reading child. Not all parents are exactly sure how to do that however.
Raising a reading child is a lot easier to do in a reading household. There are many different reasons for this. Reading parents are much more likely to expose their children to books. Books are often all around the house, parents are often seen reading to themselves, and reading parents frequently wind up reading with their children from an early age.
All of these things help to socialize a child to enjoy books. In addition, the vocabularies in reading household are much larger and children are exposed to many more words. This can make it easier for them to acquire language and reading skills further down.
If you are not a reader then consider trying to incorporate more books into your life anyways. If you take the time to deliberately expose your children to books and read with them, your children are much more likely to associate books with pleasure rather than work. Reading with a child, both before and after they learn to read to themselves, is a good way to spend time together and improve your child's relationship with the written word.
You know your child best and if you determine that he or she is resistant to reading, then you may need to consider why that might be. Don't just give up on your child's relationship with books because it has a rocky start. Instead, find ways to make reading fun. You can read to your child, if they will not read for themselves, you can also find alternative types of reading materials to introduce them to the fun that they can have with books.
For some children, it's simply a matter of finding the right niche and encouraging it. If that means buying your child their favorite graphic novel rather than the childhood classic you loved, then so be it.
Reading should be fun for your child before it is anything else. Studies show that children who read for enjoyment progress in their facility with the written word much more quickly than children who are prodded into reading for school assignments and other reasons. That is why freedom of reading material is so important: it opens the door to a world of enjoyment.
Organizational skills can be the key to the chaos that is your child's life. Teens are often at a loss to know why they cannot find their notes and assignments or are always running behind. Not all children realize that organizational skills must be modeled and taught.
If this is the case with your teen, it may be time to step in and ask if they would like some help organizing and ordering their life. It can be a good time for the two of you to bond and for you to pass on necessary life skills.
Begin by helping your teen to choose the supplies that they will need to organize their school items. Some of these items may actually be on your child's list of required school supplies, but they will be able to make good use of the supplies whether or not they are required. Your child should have an organized binder prepared and designated for each class.
In each binder, place a set of dividers and label them appropriately for the class. Completed homework, notes, pending assignments, and handouts for example. The binders should also have a section of paper for note taking.
Next, help your child to set up a planner or appointment book that they can use to keep track of classes, assignments due, and extra curricular activities. Having a place to immediately write down new events and obligations will help your teen to remember them. Your child will need to commit to using the new materials appropriately, however, as organization is an ongoing project.
Once you and your teen have taken the time to set up a system of organization that works for them, take some time to go over basic tenets of organization. Remind your child to immediately file loose papers in the appropriate binder and write important notes and dates in their schedule. You can also apply your child's new organizational approach to personal spaces like their bedroom and their locker.
Go through these areas with your teen and encourage him or her to find or make a place for all their belongs. This is a great opportunity to do a little purging of out of date papers and unused belongs. The end result will be a sparkling new space for your child to live and work in.
You should take the time to help your teen remember to exercise their new skills periodically. This is especially important when you see evidence that your child is backsliding and growing messy or forgetting assignments. Teaching your child about organization now, while they're young, can help them to develop habits that will bring life long benefits.
These skills will definitely be useful to your teen when he or she enters college and then the adult world. Of course, your teen might not take wholeheartedly to organization, but you can hope that they will learn the skills and deploy them when they feel they're necessary. It's all about finding a happy medium as organization is not always a teen's natural state.
One of the most important components of your child's scholastic success is your involvement. An involved parent who pitches in to their child's education both at school and at home is an invaluable resource and a strong predictor of success. That is because it is imperative that children receive similar levels of support and feedback at home and at school.
Good parenting provides the foundation for your child's success at school and good teaching can help to further that success, but when parents, teacher, and child can work together to achieve their learning goals the results are often amazing. Still, there can sometimes be friction between parents and teachers as they try to learn to navigate what is best for the child together. For that reason it is important to consider your approach carefully and try not to interfere in the classroom unless you are asked to by the teacher.
Parent-teacher relationships are dependant on good communication, just like any other relationship. As a parent, you want your child's teacher to hear what you have to say about your child and your goals for her, but you need to recognize the teacher's right to be heard as well (and vice versa of course). Take the time to introduce yourself to your child's teacher and communicate regularly with him or her via their preferred method. Many teachers prefer email, which can be answered at their leisure and without interrupting educational business. Keep it to just a few times per term as you don't want to pester the teacher.
When you check in with your child's teacher ask how your child is doing and whether there have been any changes in behavior or performance that you should know about. Your child's teacher can often clue you into important information about your child simply because they see a different side of him or her at school than you do at home.
Another way to involve yourself in your child's success is to volunteer at the school or in the classroom. There are usually lots of opportunities to do this and it is a great help to both your child and the school itself. Remember that the school needs to be success for your child to be a success so if you can help by assisting with fundraising or chaperoning a field trip, then you are ultimately contributing to your child's education as well as that of their classmates.
Finally, you can be involved in your child's schooling simply by engaging with your child and properly preparing them for each day. Make sure that you check your child's grades, that you know what they are studying and how they are doing, and that you help them accomplish it. This can be done in as simple a fashion as making sure your child goes off to school rested, fed, and with completed homework. A child that is properly prepared to face their day will be much more likely to achieve success as a result of your care.
When the time comes for your child's first day of school you expect to be proud and maybe a little sad. Okay-maybe more than a little sad. You hope, however, that your child will take to the potential new experience well, with energy and excitement. When your child has separation anxiety issues though, it can taint those early days at school. The good news is that separation anxiety is completely normal for young children.
It is a phase that will pass in most cases and by the time your child moves on to first grade they will no doubt have forgotten their first day fears. Still, separation anxiety in a school setting is something that you must address and find ways to solve so that your child can go on to experience kindergarten the way they should.
For most parents, their child's reluctance to part ways on the first day at school will not come as a complete surprise. There are usually signs that this might be coming. If you notice them in advance, you will be about to begin working to address the source of your child's anxiety early. Otherwise you're stuck dealing with it as school starts.
If the anxiety seems to be directly related to school, consider dropping by the building and classrooms before the first day. This will allow your child to familiarize themselves with the new surroundings and help to allay some fear. If you can introduce your child and their teacher before the big day, that will also help. Other strategies for dealing with normal separation anxieties include:
If you practice these types of techniques outside of the school situation, it can make separating at school easier in the long run.
During your child's first year of school you will see them learn and grow by leaps and bounds as their world expands once again.
In order to properly prepare your child for this experience, you will want to familiarize yourself with the curricula that they will be expected to follow in school.
Knowing what's on the horizon for your child will also help you to provide the proper support for lessons at home.
Although the specifics of the curriculum vary between schools, states, and teachers the details remain the same By the time your child has completed their kindergarten year of school, they will be expected to be familiar with the following:
You can work with your child at home on some of these concepts if you choose. This will help you to stay involve in your child's learning and to reinforce those lessons at home. Good education begins with the foundation that you lay in the home after all. Don't be afraid to continue the lessons and the practice as a part of your day-to-day life.
The more you connect with your child over their scholastic material, then the better your relationship and their academic performance will be.
Leaving home to attend kindergarten for the first time can be thrilling in that scary exciting way. As a parent you want to find ways to ease the transition and prepare your child for the upcoming changes that the world of kindergarten represents. Preparing for kindergarten means getting ready for the big day-the first day---of school. It also means preparing for all the days that come after that first day. You want to be sure that you are sending you child off prepared to cope with the social, emotional, and academic pressures of being a student and going to school. How can you do that? By paying attention to your child's mental and emotional state and responding to it as it develops.
Though kindergarten is not an academically rigorous experience, the more that you work with your child on the concepts they will encounter there, the more confidence he or she will have about it.
When kindergarten is getting close, consider working to familiarize your child with the new environment and routine that he or she is facing. Take your child to the bus stop to catch the bus or watch other children catching the bus. Visit the school and the classrooms where your child will spend their time and take time to familiarize him or her with the environment.
If you can, attend an open house and introduce your child to their teacher. All of these activities will help to allay any fears your child may be feeling about the big day. Finally, the day before your child starts kindergarten, help them pack their own little backpack and your child will be ready to start school.
You may wonder, as you begin to research preschools, what your child is actually supposed to be learning at this age and from this experience. It may surprise you to know that you determine the answer to that question by voting with your preschool fees. There is no real system of accreditation for preschools in the United States. Most certifications have to do with preschool health and safety rather than preschool academics. In addition, the basic curriculum of most preschools is actually taken from kindergarten curriculums.
The two types of school cover the same basic material simply because not all children are required to go to preschool and it would be a problem if they missed out on the material due to changes in kindergarten curricula. This means that preschools are free to bend to the whims of the market and offer some unique educational options.
The basics of what you can expect a preschool child to learn are broken down by age and level of development.
For two your olds, preschool is a social and physical experience rather than an academic one. At this age:
Three year olds in preschool spend time developing during unstructured play and learning more building block skills. At this age:
Four year olds are revving up for kindergarten and future academic success. At this age:
That is a lot to learn in just three years in a preschool classroom, but it's really just the tip of the academic iceberg. You can find preschools that offer focused academic work designed to give your child a leg up on their education as well as preschools that focus their attention on language acquisition and immersion. If you want to expose your child to the family faith, then there are preschools that cater to religious education. Whatever you want your child to learn, there is a preschool that will offer that curriculum at an age appropriate level. For most parents the limiting factor isn't academics, but price.
Many of us have trouble adjusting our internal schedules to meet society's demands. This is particularly true in the stereotypical case of the night owl, who never wants to sleep and never wants to get up and running. As adults, we have to take responsibility for our own sleep choices. But what do we do when our children are night owls and we need them to go to school wide-eyed and ready to learn?
Children need to have a fairly rigid schedule when it comes to sleep. If your night owl has trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour or getting up at being alert at one, then you need to consider the amount and quality of their sleep. School aged children should get at least ten hours of sleep a night whether they are in elementary school or high school.
In fact, studies show that teens are more likely to have trouble regulating their sleep patterns than younger children. If your child has trouble falling asleep at night, make sure that they have a firm bedtime. Help them to prepare for this bedtime by:
* Cutting out caffeinated foods and drinks after about four in the afternoon.
* Feeding them a healthy, but light dinner.
* Limiting sugary or fatty snacks before bedtime.
* Limiting excitement in the hour before bedtime-this includes television and internet time.
* Setting a routine in place.
This last is particularly important because it will help your child's body to learn to prepare for sleep when it is triggered by the routine. Do not allow your child to alter their bedtime on the weekends either. Try to keep irregularities out of their schedule when you can, as that will make it easier to train their bodies to respond the schedule you have set for them.
The second part of the sleep equation is getting up. As with bedtime, your child should be on a schedule for this. Do not allow them to sleep in on weekends or during holidays, as this will upset the schedule you have been trying to create by reinforcing their night owl tendencies. Instead, wake your child up on time every morning with an alarm clock. Go ahead and check on them a few minutes after the alarm clock has rung in order to ensure that they are getting out of bed.
One way that you can help your child be more alert in the morning is to expose them to as much sunlight as possible. So keep the curtains open in their room and throughout the house. Copious amounts of sunlight will help to reset their internal clock, notifying the brain that it is time to awake and alert. Finally, help your sleepy child out with a healthy breakfast. This will get their body firing on all systems and help to prepare them for the day.
Our children are now being tested more than ever before. In schools we have gone from testing children on curricular material to teaching test taking strategies for NCLB tests that determine school funding based on arbitrary performance evaluation. Much of our children's academic lives are dominated by one test after another.
It is no surprise to learn that this has caused our children to feel some performance anxiety. In fact, most children feel some level of test related stress or anxiety when they are faced with yet another test. As parents, however, we cannot abandon our children to the stress they are feeling. Without our help, our children will lack the tools to successfully navigate the situation and stress will cripple their academic life.
Instead, we must step up to the plate and reduce the anxiety where we can by teaching our children to cope with test pressure.
Stress is a physiological response that is tied into our fight or flight mechanisms. A child under stress therefore, is much less likely to be capable of performing well. Stress can cause the brain to get out of sync and have to work harder to process information and achieve results. It can also make your child more vulnerable to illnesses and other negative effects. You can strengthen your child's body against stress response however:
* Make sure that your child is getting a proper night's rest and a full eight hours or more of sleep every day.
* Make sure that your child regularly displays healthy eating habits.
* Make sure that your child gets the right amount of exercise.
All of these things should help your child to fight off the negative effects of stress.
The best way to cope with your child's test anxiety is to teach them to be well prepared for tests and to focus on the positive. The first will give them the skills to navigate the test questions themselves while the second will have a powerful effect on the mind's response to stress. Begin by making sure that your child is regularly studying and doing their homework. It is important that you be sure that they are not having any trouble understanding their work long before a test looms on the horizon.
When a test does come up, make sure they have studied for it long before cramming becomes necessary. Then, on the night before, have your child put the books down and focus on something fun and relaxing instead.
As for teaching your child to focus on the positive, many studies show that negative thoughts can generate a type of feedback loop that hinders forward movement and thought. Positive thoughts and attitudes can actually generate positive outcomes however. Teach your child to interrupt negative thoughts about their test performance with more positive ones.
Finally, help your child understand that you value their academic performance as a whole and that one small test does not really mean much in the grand scheme of things.
Everyone knows that the before school breakfast is absolutely the most important meal of the day. This is the first food your child will have eaten since dinner last night. The tank is officially empty until you put breakfast on the table and in their mouths. This is why breakfast should be the biggest meal that you eat every day. It needs to backfill the hole left by a good night's sleep while preparing you to face the day ahead. No other meal should carry this kind of weight and accordingly, lunch is smaller than breakfast and dinner is smaller than lunch.
When you plan your child's breakfast, you first need to take into account their daily nutritional needs. Children over seven should have approximately 2,200 calories a day. One third to one half of those calories should be a part of your child's breakfast. Properly distributed among the correct food groups those calories will keep your child moving from the breakfast table to the lunch break.
This is important because studies suggest that children who go to school hungry perform poorly and eat more calories in their day than children who eat a proper breakfast. Teachers often cover heavy hitting subjects like arithmetic in the morning and underfed children lack the resources they need perform at their best.
A proper breakfast meets all your child's morning nutritional needs. Nutritious breakfast options include a variety of foods from the important food groups including:
* Fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables provide necessary vitamins and minerals while complex carbohydrates offer a sustained energy burn that will keep your child going until lunch. A sugary breakfast will only get your child from the table to the classroom. Dairy and meat provide more appropriate sources of immediate energy.
It can be difficult to make sure that your family has the time for a full breakfast in the rush of the morning, but it is worth it. One way to make it a little easier is to plan your meals an evening ahead and set out non-perishable ingredients. Healthy breakfast ideas for your children include:
* Eggs - scrambled, dippy, hard boiled, however they will eat them
* Fruit smoothies - add healthy greens like spinach or kale
* Fruit parfaits
* French toast, waffles, or pancakes made with whole grains
* Hot cereals like oatmeal with dried or fruit and / or nuts on top
* Bananas and peanut butter rolled in whole wheat tortillas
* Cottage cheese with fruit and / or honey on top
* Whole-wheat toast with peanut or any nut butter
These are just a few ideas. Whatever else you do make sure that you steer away from simple sugars and fatty foods when you plan your child's breakfast. Though breakfast is a great time to eat high calorie foods, too much sugar and fat will only drag your child down during the day, where as a great breakfast will pave the way for a great day.
As your child approaches that age, you may find yourself ponder the question of preschool. It is much more common now than it ever has been before to send children to preschools. In 1960 only about 10% of children went to preschools in America. Now that number has changed and most children do attend preschools at some point. Some go early and some go late, but still some don't go at all.
Preschool is by no means mandatory after all, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Many parents feel that it would be redundant to send a child they've chosen to stay at home with off to another caregiver. Some parents can't find a way to fit preschool into their budget and other simply do not feel that it offers what their child needs, when they need it. Ultimately it's a decision that you will have to make for yourself, but here are a few thought s you might find helpful.
Preschools offer different things to different people. This can also vary by school facility as well. Some preschools are very academically oriented and will offer children a rigorous, but age appropriate curriculum. Some are simply the equivalent of a paid childcare or play date facility. Most fall between these extremes. For most families, preschools offer several different benefits.
* They allow the children to learn to socialize with other kids and even make friends that will follow them to kindergarten.
* They offer an experience of a space where the child is not the center of the universe, sometimes the first.
* They teach social and emotional skills, manners, and graces.
* They teach basic and age appropriate concepts.
* They offer a place to practice parent and child separation.
* They offer a place to draw out shy and sensitive children.
* They are a great place to for outgoing children to excel.
Of course, these are only a few of the functions of a preschool and you will need to find one that you like and approve of if you choose to go that route.
Whether or not a child needs to attend preschool is up to that child's parents. Educationally speaking, preschools cover the same general territory as kindergarten. This means that a child who does not attend preschool will be learning the same material as the child who does. The timing of the learning process will simply be slightly different.
Developmentally speaking, a child might benefit from preschool before kindergarten if he or she has not had the normal opportunities to socialize with other children. No one wants their child to be the one who can't make friends because they don't know how to be nice yet. It is also believed that children who need to learn to overcome shyness in social situations benefit from preschool.
Finally, children who are ready to tackle the issue of parent child separation before kindergarten also benefit from their time in preschool.