Getting your child ready for back-to-school


Sunday, August 26, 2018

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It's back-to-school time and many parents are feeling flustered and apprehensive at this time. Certainly, transitioning from the lazy days of summer to the routine of back-to-school can be challenging.

It's much less stressful to ease into back-to-school mode if we do it gradually instead of suddenly realising that school is tomorrow. So, if you have not already begun to prepare, begin now.

Here are a few tips to make the shift from summer to back-to-school easier and smoother:

1) Get back into a sleep routine

Over the summer kids have bedtime hours which may not be in sync with school. Start now to get them back in a routine. Enforce certain bedtime best practice such as no screens an hour before bedtime. Teenagers generally go to bed later than younger kids, but they still require 8-10 hours of sleep each night for optimum brain performance. To get a fixed bedtime going, begin having a consistent bedtime routine where kids do the exact same thing every night before bed. This could include showering, teeth brushing, reading a book, followed by lights out. Avoid any form of caffeine in the afternoon.

2) Evaluate last year's performance and set new academic goals

It's important to assess your child's performance over the last academic year. So, for example, if your child is weak in mathematics or science, start discussing the issues and devising attainable academic goals. There is no point in quarrelling about the past year; what is needed is solutions. This may involve finding a private tutor for your child.

3) Get school supplies ready

This goes without saying that you should be finalising back-to-school shopping at this point. Do not wait for the last minute. Get your child organised now.

4) Step up on reading and writing

Many schools have reading lists and require book reviews upon return to school. Ensure that this is done. If there is no reading list, it's still a good idea to encourage your child to start reading. Have your kids pick up a pencil or pen and start writing a story or a book review. Practise some mathematics problems. You must get the brain revved up for learning.

5)Get familiar with syllabus

Depending on the age of your child, it is critical to familiarise yourself and your child with the syllabus. If your child is sitting CSEC or CAPE next year, this is especially important because teachers are sometimes unable to complete the full syllabus in the time given. Your child will still need to cover the syllabus and will either have to do extras or do the work him or herself. Think about this and prepare accordingly.

6) Plan extra-curricular activities carefully

Extra-curricular activities are important and are to be encouraged. School should never just be about academics. There are sporting activities, social clubs, dancing, arts, among many others to choose from. Start discussing these choices now and make good decisions based on your child's unique personality, likes and dislikes. However, be careful that when you plan your child's schedule, time is left for independent study, relaxation and exercise.

7) Talk about school

It's always a good idea to keep the lines of communication open. Many kids suffer from first-day jitters regardless of age. Reassure them and get excited about school with your kids. Talk about concerns your child may have. Discuss healthy and economical lunch options. Remind them about respect, good manners and good behaviour in classes.

Every new school year is an opportunity for a fresh start. Therefore, kids must be encouraged to make it count. The potential is there to make this school year the BEST ever. Good luck to all parents and students as the new school year approaches.

Dr Karla Hylton is the author of Yes! You Can Help Your Child Achieve Academic Success and Complete Chemistry for Caribbean High Schools . She operates Bio & Chem Tutoring, which specialises in secondary level biology and chemistry. Reach her at (876) 564-1347, or .

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