by Dr Donya Betancourt, Pediatitian, Jakarta
It’s time to go back to school after a long break. If your child is like just about every other kid, they’re probably a little nervous and excited about the first day.
To help battle the anxiety, the most important tip is to get your children to pack their school bags the night before to prevent a last-minute morning panic. Tell them to make sure they pack everything they’ll need for the day, especially gym clothes.
It might help for them to bring a favorite pencil or wear a special outfit on the first day. Help your little one pick a new outfit for the start of the school year — but the real trick is just to be comfortable and relaxed.
If school requires wearing a uniform, choose the favorite bracelet or watch or something else your youngster really likes.
Once they know the way around the building and are used to the school-day routine, they will probably feel better. If your child still has anxiety after a couple weeks be sure to start a discussion. It might also help to talk to the guidance counselor at school to discuss you child’s feelings.
For the student, try to follow these tips to prepare the way for a successful first day — and every school day: * Get enough sleep * Eat a balanced breakfast to give the energy needed * Go to school with a positive attitude every day * Give school your best * Develop good work habits — that means writing down assignments and turning in homework on time * Take time with assignments in and out of the classroom — if you don’t understand something, ask the teacher
Once school starts, homework is an important area where parents and children can help each other. For a first-grader, learning to read is as difficult as writing a long essay is for a high school student or as hard as finishing long division. If homework were always easy, there would be no point doing it.
Children may act like their life is on hold until that homework is completed and it’s common to hear parents say: “”You can do that after you finish your homework.””
Well, there’s a good reason why adults make a big deal out of homework. Homework is a great tool to teach responsibility and accountability. That’s why it’s so important.
Children should do homework in a quiet place without clutter and confusion. The child should have a clean, quiet study area that’s free of distractions.
Parents might help by setting up a special quiet place in the house especially for study and stocking it with pencils, erasers, a ruler, a snack and anything else they might need. Teachers can help, they can check their pupils’ notes to make sure they have written down all of the assignments and check their backpack to make sure nothing is forgotten.
Helping children learn is the teacher’s job. Parents must ask the teacher for this extra attention if they want it.
Sometimes children struggle with homework. Don’t be embarrassed if this happens to your child. Everyone learns at a different pace.
Some children might have to study for two hours instead of one, or might have to practice multiplication tables nine times instead of five to really remember them. The important thing is to put in as much time as your child needs to understand the lessons.
You may need to cut back on your children’s playtime, soccer practice, or piano lessons until they are back up to speed.
If your children have fallen behind in schoolwork because of an illness or family emergency, ask the teacher for an extension on the assignments and maybe some extra help after school. Most teachers are happy to help a student who is trying to learn.
Once you know what works for you, you’ll be on your way to success!
Good luck for the next school year.