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Things to pay attention to in the new school year

By Mercy Makinde
22 September 2018   |   4:27 am
My little Seven-Year-old son came home from his first day at school and when it was homework time he was grumpy and even cried. He said the homework was too much for him.

Kids within classroom

My little Seven-Year-old son came home from his first day at school and when it was homework time he was grumpy and even cried. He said the homework was too much for him. I was a little taken aback but then I realized apart from our constant hype that he is now a big boy going to year 2, I didn’t exactly prepare him for the new class mentally.

Like my kids’ school, many schools across the nation resumed a new school year this week and this was met with mixed feelings in various homes. While some parents were happy to finally let their kids off like a weight-lifting athlete wearily dropping off a ponderous weight set, others are beset with emotions as their little Precious take a massive leap into a New Class or New School entirely!
Whatever side of the divide you are, I bet one thing is certain, you are happy to have your kids back in school! wink wink! But as they go, there are several things you can do as a parents to make a tremendous difference in getting children mentally prepared to start the year off right. I will be sharing some tips I will be deploying to help my kids and I settle in.

KEEP THE KIDS MOTIVATED – With the summer holidays seeming like eternity and the kids being drenched in the world of fun especially if they have been up and about during the holiday, they are going to find it hard to switch from holiday/enjoyment mode to real-life/school mood.

Their spirits will definitely be dampened and focusing will inevitably be a real struggle. So they may very well come home crying about homework like my little boy did.

Every child has one positive motivation to return to school – Seeing their Friends! So, leverage on this as one motivating tool.
Another motivating tool is, never stop talking about all the fun activities lined up for the term even if you don’t have the full details yet – Sport Events, Excursions, Extra Curricular Activities, Dramas – depending on your child’s interest. Give them something to look forward to other than study. Remember learning is better when it’s fun!

While at this, pull your children away from all screens – TV, Phones, Tablets and get them in the study mood again. For me, my kids don’t watch TV Mondays to Fridays; No tablets or any other gadgets either. You could try this too and see if it works for you.
Then begin to help them understand that the lessons at school are linked to the exciting world around them and will certainly help them in the future, particularly if they are kids that always talk about what they want to be in future like my boys (though they change their future ambition on a per second billing!) Let them know the only way of becoming that is what they are learning now.

DEAL WITH ANXIETIES- For many kids, going back to school is a time of high excitement and energy as they are looking forward to seeing old friends, making new ones, meeting new teachers and settling in a new class.
But the excitement is often spiced with a dash of anxiety – “who will be in my class”, “will they still like me”, “who will my teacher be”? For you as a parent, these are the least of your worries as you are more burdened with more critical issues such as their school fees and all but for your child, this can make or mar their new school year.

Meeting new kids, talking to authority figures, standing in front of a group, getting into trouble, being bullied and negotiating the hierarchies of the playground worry your children more than you could ever imagine. As a parent, you need to help your children through this turmoil because social anxiety can severely impact a kid’s life and can set them up for a future of missed opportunities.

Teach them how to think positively and realistically, teach SELF CONFIDENCE amongst other things. My boys have a good dose of confidence pumped into at all times and a booster given at this time so these kind of anxieties may not pose a problem we have to deal with.
Talk to your children about their fears. Help your child to understand what they’re anxious about and that their nervousness is absolutely normal but it should not overwhelm them. Tell them what to expect. This will allay their fears, help them relax and settle in fast.

MEET THE TEACHERS – This is one thing I never get to do in good time but this session I want to break my own bad record and meet my boys’ teachers in record time!

This is important because it is often a good opportunity to discuss your children’s learning or behavioral problems and health issues if any with those that would be looking after them a greater part of the day. Sometimes a phone call doesn’t cut it. Being there physically emphasizes how important these issues are to you.

My Son needs to sit in front of the class because of his eyesight issues. I bet the teacher would understand it means a lot to me if I walk in there to discuss this rather than sending a note.

As you go for the meeting with the teachers, bring a list of discussion points that you would like to raise. Don’t just make it a casual visit. Also talk to your children about the meeting and ask if there is anything they need you to mention to their teachers.

Tell the teacher about anything happening in your child’s life that may affect his or her performance and behavior at school. This would help the teachers relate to your child better. These includes things like divorce, illness, death of a loved one, depression, fear, crime or anything you consider relevant to the child’s well being.

HAVE THE TALK – Educate your child about SEX in an age appropriate way so they don’t hear about it from the wrong source. Don’t be shy about this. It is very important especially in this era where Sexual Abuse is even more common than common cold!
This conversation must be a regular as possible! It’s never a one off thing.

But again, no matter how much you have educated and protected your kids from sexual abuse, the other kids in schools can negatively influence him/her if they have not received the same education about Sex and Sexual Abuse. This is why you must encourage your kid’s school to host the TOUCH ME NOT CAMPAIGN team, which is an awareness program in schools designed to help sensitize children against Child Sexual Abuse and provide help for those suffering it already or in the past!

If you want your child to have a great school year, apply these tips as discussed here. I guarantee you it will make a lot of difference and will help the child have a meaningful and fulfilling school year!