Back to School: What You Need to Know
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August is here and that means Cherokee County students will be returning to school this month. Having a back to school plan can assist both students and parents. Below you will find helpful information and practical strategies to implement to aid in this time of transition.
Having routines in place for your family can let children know what to expect each day. A routine is a sequence of actions that are regularly followed. Having routines can ease the process of getting your student(s) ready for school in the mornings and getting homework, family time/meals, and hygiene tasks completed each day. Try to form routines that work for everyone and make sure to incorporate a bedtime so that your child/children have enough sleep each night. (See Table 1 for the CDC recommendations on hours of sleep per day by age.)
Making a meal plan each week is a great way to incorporate nutrition into your families meals and student lunches. By providing a wholesome meal, children are able to have long lasting energy and focus without those spikes and dips in blood sugar levels. A great resource for providing a nutritious meal is MyPlate. Here you will find recipes, resources and guidance.
Think before you share: Many parents love to take photos on the first day of school. Some even have their child/children hold chalk or maker boards giving information on students name, school, grade, teacher etc. It is important to realize what you post on social media can be used by child predators and scammers. Despite what privacy settings or friends you have, do your best to keep your family’s personal information sharing to a minimum.
Meaningful connection can make lasting impacts on children. According to a report by the A.C. Nielsen Company, parents spend only 39 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. Making time to connect with your child each day can have significant effects on their well-being.
Below are a few tips on Quality Time from the Child Parent Institute:
- Give kids brief and frequent attention – it adds up over time. Many times, kids only need or want a few minutes of attention before they’re off to the next activity or task. When your child or teen wants to ask, tell, or show you something, stop what you’re doing, make eye contact, and listen (instead of saying “in a minute”). Giving quality time in this way sends the message that they matter, and you care.
- Eat at least one meal together each day. Use this time to reconnect with each other, even if it’s only for a short amount of time at the beginning or end of the day. Turn mealtimes into quality time by turning off electronic devices and talking about things each person is thinking, feeling, or doing. This also helps children and teens learn important communication skills, such as taking turns asking questions, talking, and listening.
- Do things together without electronic devices. Turn devices off, or at least silenced and out of sight, for an agreed-upon amount of time. Go on walks, play cards or other games, read books, go shopping, play a sport, cook meals, or just sit quietly together. It doesn’t have to be an expensive or all-day activity – when it comes to family time, quality and consistency matter the most.
- Turn everyday routines into quality time. Researchers have found that children view everyday routines and hanging out with parents as valuable family time. Imagine that! Talk with your kids on the way to or from child care or school, ask if they need help with homework (even if it’s just helping them review what assignments they have), talk or listen to music while you do chores together, or “make a date” to watch a TV show or movie together. These small moments may seem insignificant but can create a lasting impression.
- Play together. Make up a game using your imagination, or play a structured game with rules. Either way, kids of all ages will enjoy laughing and doing something as a family that has nothing to do with chores, school work, or family rules. Playful moments often create the best, longest-lasting family memories.
For more information, contact Marlana Baker, Family and Consumer Science Agent at (828)837-2210, by email at email@example.com, or visit our website.
Offer, S. (2013). Family time activities and adolescents’ emotional well-being. Journal of Marriage & Family, 75, 26-41.