Beating the Back to School Blues - How To Make It as Stress Free as Possible.
Back to school can be a stressful time for students, teachers, and parents. Students may be depressed about losing the freedom of summer and having to get back to the structure and demands of school. Teachers often are a little remorseful over seeing their own summer vacations come to a close. This time of year they are in a mad dash to prepare for incoming classes.
Parents, while they may be silently cheering they will be getting peace and quiet back, are also stressed about the expense of sending their student back to class. Further, this time of year marks another step away from them as their student is moving closer to adulthood.
In an effort to help ease the stress of going back to school, consider the following tips.
Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Talk to your student about how life will change. Be sure to include things like the change to a more structured daily schedule that will most likely include getting up much earlier, dedicated time for homework and less time being available to be with friends. Allow your student to ask you any questions they have and be prepared to listen. Remember too that for older students listening often times is more difficult as they may not want advice so much as to just be heard.
Dress codes cover more than clothing
Dress codes cover a lot more than just pants and shirts. Other things schools dictate policy about now that will affect your child include the following:
- Body piercings
- Tattoos (even temporary ones)
- Facial hair
- Hair length in boys
- Hair color
Know your school’s dress code policy.
Be sure to check for changes that may be different from the year before. Get your student the appropriate attire and be sure they know they have to follow the prescribed dress code. The last thing your student needs on the first day of school is to be sitting in a principal’s office for half the day because he/she wore the wrong shirt.
Such a situation is embarrassing for them and they will miss important information in their classes about how the semester will go, what will be expected of them, and the all important syllabus. Being written up for a dress code violation on the first day of school will not endear them to either their teachers or their principal and can set a negative tone for the remainder of the term.
Know the bus number and the driver's name.
Be sure you know what bus your student will ride and have them not only memorize the number but write it down inside their backpack. Younger students especially tend to forget such information in the excitement of the first day of school. It is a good idea to label all items belonging to your student with a sharpie on the inside labels.
Mark standardized testing days on your calendar.
Nothing kicks up discipline and rule enforcement more than standardized testing days. Often, on these days, students are not allowed to have a cell phone, or any other kind of electronic device on their person.
Teachers will normally have students check them in for the duration of testing. It's not the safest environment. Over the years, I've seen many an expensive phone stolen on these days. I've even seen the door kicked in and the entire cabinet containing a classes phones stolen. If possible, leave the phones at home on these days.
Know your school’s policies regarding electronic devices.
Electronic device policies will cover things such as cell phones, CD players, Mp3 players, games and such.
A large number of schools have a "do not bring policy" and teachers are instructed to take up such items.
Depending on the district, it may not be at the teachers discretion to return them to the student.
Some districts require parents come pick up such expensive electronic equipment and still others will not release such devices without parents having to pay a monetary fine.
Schools go through every phone they confiscate. Have you ever been through your child's phone?See results without voting
Be sure to speak to your student about taking pictures at school with his/her phone.
Districts nationwide are having problems with risky pictures taken by students. Some students have even been legally charged for emailing such pictures even when it was of themselves. You may be thinking, "My student would never!"
Honestly, this generation does not look at the act of taking what we may consider to be immodest pictures of oneself as previous generations did.
Let your student know in no uncertain terms not only your feelings about the matter, but that such a mistake in judgment can result in a criminal record no matter how innocent the intention.
Further, your student should be aware that, legally speaking, some students may not be photographed without written permission under any circumstances even if said student agrees to being photographed, i.e. special education students under 18 years of age and wards of the state.
Know of any changes to the school’s lunch program.
Be sure your student has enough money to buy lunch and/or breakfast if needed. Know if your school has an account system for each student. If the school does, be sure to go ahead and deposit online if possible. The larger the school the longer the deposit lines will be on the first day. It is not at all unlikely that some students will miss out on lunch because it took the entire period just to get money into their account.
If your student has a sensitive digestive system requiring medications be they over the counter or prescription, be sure to give such items to the school nurse in their original containers. In the majority of districts, criminal charges can and will be filed for student possession of any kind of medication even over the counter things such as Pepcid A.C. and Tums.
Be sure that your student knows all of your emergency contact information.
The school will send home a form with your student on the fist day requesting such information. Fill it out and return it the following day. As a parent, you will most likely have more homework on the first day of class than your student. The first day information packets required not only by the school but also by many teachers can be rather thick. Take the time and invest the effort to complete and return all immediately. Teachers and administrators will appreciate it in both your student and you. Any student not returning said packets the very next day will go on a list… You do not want your student on such lists, especially not starting on the second day of school.
Be up to date on all vaccinations.
Be sure your student has all required vaccines and immunizations and that you have provided written proof of such from a medical professional to the school. The school nurse will begin compiling her own list of who is in compliance and who is not on day one. Students found to be out of compliance may be pulled from classes which is embarrassing for them. Further, they may not be allowed to return to class until such documentation is provided which may result in you having to leave work to come get them.
Know the school's calendar.
Get a copy of the official school calendar. Be aware of any and all testing dates, early dismissal dates, and school closing dates.
Know policies in relation to free tutoring and testing.
Find out about your school’s policies regarding tutoring and makeup work. If at any point your child is struggling, take advantage of the free tutoring. The sooner a child invests the effort to overcome any deficiencies or gaps in learning the sooner the struggles will end and the less likely he/she will be to fall behind in any given subject.
Teach your student who to go to for what.
Be sure your student knows what to do and who to contact for help with such situations as bullying, lost materials, knowledge of a crime, needing a schedule change and/or counseling services be they personal, academic, or vocational.
Pick up the phone.
Contact all of your students teachers and make them aware that you want to be involved in your child’s education and that they can and should contact you immediately with any issues or concerns.
Get your student involved.
Encourage your student to join at least one campus organization and/or extra curricular activity. It looks great on college applications, helps keep them be with the “right” crowd and gives the appearance of a “fine upstanding” student to the faculty. It also benefit’s the student by helping he/she pursue more individualized interests, exposes them to new things and allows for structured exploration of topics outside the scope of the general curriculum.
Get some rest.
Lastly, be sure your student is well rested before the big day, that they get up in plenty of time to prepare and primp as much as possible, and that they know you support them no matter what. May you and your student have a stellar year, learn, grow and excel.
Above all, know what is going on at your child's school. Don't just ask your student and his/her teachers. Go there. Just show up. Look around. Get involved.
- B.C. kids face highest back-to-school anxiety - British Columbia - CBC News
B.C. kids have the highest levels of anxiety about heading back to school, a national Angus Reid survey suggests.
- Check out these tips to save on back-to-school items | DailyComet.com
For some, school has already begun, and for others, school is just a day away. If you haven't already bought school supplies, you're one of the few that hasn't piled folders and pencils in your buggy.
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