A birthday and a backpack
August 26, 2011
As school starts, I am reminded of my youngest child’s first day of kindergarten. The poor child had 5 stitches in his right heel from an unfortunate accident with a metal door plate. He turned 6 years old a few days before school started and he was using a walker which gave a little extra stability than crutches. He was standing in line with the other kids outside the kindergarten room. All the parents were standing a couple of paces away from their kids anxiously awaiting the bell to ring.
My husband and I were old hats at this as he is our third child. The backpack was full, the emergency card was signed and his lunch was packed. We did our part and now off he went. I had a moment of misty-eyed “My baby is growing up” motherly emotions, but it passed and off we went to spend the day alone, childless and enjoying it.
In the afternoon, we returned to pick him up and the teacher was standing next to him. As we walked up, excited to see him and hear how his first day of school went, the teacher stepped up to talk to us. (Now after two other boys, I took this as a sign that there was a ‘talking to’ in my youngest son’s future.) The teacher hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for preparing him for school.” She had spent the day with kids yelling, misbehaving and jumping on the furniture. My son, confined as he was because of his foot, was patient but helpful. He waited until someone was available to help him to get his lunch or binder. He waited until he was called on. We couldn’t have been prouder of our son.
I hear so much about schools needing to do better. They have tests to measure how the teachers are performing and there’s more and more scrutiny on the schools’ performance. But what about the parents? Where is the accountability for the parents to prepare their children?
We’ve created Head Start to try and catch the kids earlier in order to better prepare the kids for school, but preparing for school starts years earlier.
Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:
- Read to your child from as early as possible. Have your child read to you. Set an example and read in front of your child.
- Emotion Coach
- Do your best to have a stable home life with routines which provides security
- Spend quality time with your child to show them they are important
If your child is already starting school here are some tips to help your child succeed:
- Get enough sleep. They need to get to bed early enough. No one can succeed when tired and cranky.
- Have a healthy breakfast and a healthy lunch.
- Set a routine for after school with a healthy snack and a calm, quiet place to do homework. (even if they’re too young, maybe sit down and read together.)
- Get involved in school activities. PTA, WatchDOGS, or offer to do projects at home if you work during the day. All of this shows your child that their school is important to you.
Children need to be read to; they need to learn to listen to adults (“Sweetheart, Grandma’s trying to tell you something.”). The need to learn to use their words for problems that they’re having. (“Okay, I can see you’re sad. Can you tell me why?”).
When preparing children for school, it’s more than their 5th birthday and a backpack that they need.
How do you help your child prepare for the school year? Share your tips below!