All Woman

Get your child into that back-to-school frame of mind

PARENTING

BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE All Woman writer

Monday, September 01, 2014    

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FOR many children, school gets back into full swing today, but after the long break, many will still be unprepared for the challenges ahead as their minds are still in holiday mode.

Thus it is the duty of parents or guardians to ensure that their children are mentally and physically prepared for the weeks and months ahead.

This is especially important if your child will be doing major exams this year; in that case there is no time to waste reflecting on the thrilling events of the summer. It's time to help them buckle down, beginning this week.

Preparation is both mental and physical, and involves everything from getting the brain ready to be challenged in class, to watching out for dangers on the road.

"It is important that parents and guardians take the time to teach the children, especially the very young ones, about ways in which they can avoid incidents that may place them in dangerous or harmful situations," said Dorothy Campbell, communication specialist at the Consumer Affairs Commission.

For younger children, teaching them basic things like their correct names will also help ease their mental stress.

"Do not use pet names, as this may confuse the child; use the name that they are registered in at the school," Campbell said. "Children remember songs, so you could make it into a song (or) teach it as a nursery rhyme that they will remember."

Here are some other tips for getting your children mentally prepared for school:

1. Have them practise going to bed earlier and take the initiative to wake them in the mornings for the next week or two as they will tend to oversleep. If they weren't used to having breakfast early, start getting them into this frame of mind.

2. For older kids, let them prepare their uniforms for school the evening before or weekend prior.

3. By now they should have fallen back into the pattern of reading and going through their new books to familiarise themselves with the topics they will be doing. Encourage this.

4. Talk about school with them. Tell them what you expect of them and ask what they expect of themselves.

5. Limit their usage of electronic devices and how much Internet and television access they have. Instead of playing games and being on social networks, encourage them to spend time doing research on topics that they will be studying at school.

6. For younger kids, limit their play time and fall back into the habit of reading to them and having them read to you.

7. Younger children should be taught not only their full names, but also their full address, and they should be able to easily identify landmarks close to their homes and schools.

8. Visit the Ministry of Education website and download the curriculum guides for your respective year. This will help you get an idea of what areas your child will cover each term.

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