For some families, it’s loading the car and taking your child off to college. For others it may be waving goodbye to your child’s first day on the bus. Whatever stage of life your child is at it’s always a challenge to get all the supplies, clothes and schedules together for the coming year.
So many of our staff have children of their own or are students themselves. We’ve asked them to share suggestions for getting the school year off to a good start so that it's a successful, safe and healthy one. Here are their suggestions:
From Dr. Shakir:
- If your children are buying a school lunch, consider brown bagging once or twice a week to ensure they are getting a balanced meal.
- If you live close enough to school, have your child walk or ride their bike.
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It refuels your child’s body and jump starts their day. Research shows that kids who eat breakfast have better attention and focus at school and make greater gains on standardized tests than those children who skip breakfast. Here are some easy ideas for your child’s breakfast:
- Non sugary cold cereal with low fat milk
- Hot cereal (oatmeal or Cream of Wheat) topped with dried fruits or nuts
- Whole grain toast or bagel with low fat cream cheese
- Yogurt topped with fruits or nuts
- Whole grain pancakes, waffles or French toast
- Laughter is the best medicine so give your child a chuckle! It’s easy – just write a joke on a piece of paper or index card and put it in their lunchbox every day. You can find joke books at the library or search the internet for “kids’ jokes”.
- Many of us are noticing how much the cell phone is now so much a part of our teenagers' lives. At the same time, our children need our one on one interactions to give them support as their experience ups and downs of school. A few simple suggestions—have a family rule of no cell phones/TV during your family meals. When they get that urgent call during a meal, simply say, “you have voice mail”
- Consider a day or two on the weekend that is technology ‘free’—pack up the cell phones for everyone, and let your kids learn to interact with each other and you. One writing phrased the term “Sabbath for technology”.
- Try not to allow hot lunch. Even if your child is receiving free lunch through the free school lunch program, compromise and allow only 2 meals per week from school. Include at least 1 fruit or vegetable with lunch. Water or plain milk is best to drink with lunch.
- Have breakfast before school. Even busy teenagers need to have something to eat to start their day. Try fruit, yogurt, smoothies, hard boiled eggs, low sugar granola bars or peanut butter on toast. Breakfast is important to wake up the brain and children who eat breakfast perform better in school.
- Arrange for a neighbor’s house to be a “safe house” to go to if your child is home alone after school and has an emergency.
- Stress the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street and establish a rule of no texting or talking on cell phones while walking, riding or driving to school.
- For children who walk or wait at the bus stop review “safety in numbers”.
- Hold your child accountable for their actions. If you know they are an “A” student and bring home “C’s” they are not living up to their potential. If your child is a “C” student and doing the best they can, that’s ok! Many very successful people had a hard time in school!
Sir Isaac Newton did poorly in elementary school
Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade
George Washington could barely write and had terrible grammar
Thomas Edison was told he was too stupid to learn by his teachers
Tom Cruise learns his movie lines by listening to tapes
Albert Einstein struggled with simple math calculations
You are your child’s biggest cheerleader. Root them on!
You may find more back to school tips at: