Back to school tips and check­list

Comment News (Armadale) - - Front Page -

A LIT­TLE plan­ning ahead can go a long way to help­ing ease the stress and may­hem that can come from start­ing a new school year.

While it may be tempt­ing to stay in hol­i­day mode for as long as you can, child psy­chol­o­gist Michael Carr-Gregg rec­om­mends that par­ents try get­ting their chil­dren into the habit of a school reg­i­men be­fore their first day back.

“Prac­tise lay­ing out their clothes, and go­ing to bed and wak­ing up on time,” he said.

As well as less­en­ing the chaos of get­ting chil­dren up and ready on time in the morn­ings, it can also help them feel more at ease about start­ing a new school year.

Dr Carr-Gregg said tak­ing a proac­tive ap­proach is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for chil­dren who are in tran­si­tional stages of their ed­u­ca­tion, such as start­ing high school.

“For kids mov­ing into Year 7, go see the school, meet the teach­ers, fa­mil­iarise your­self with the lay­out; in other words, par­tic­i­pate in the school or­gan­i­sa­tion as much as you can,” he said.

“Join clubs, play sports; just get in­volved in it.”

MODEL BE­HAV­IOUR The best way for par­ents to help their chil­dren have a more pos­i­tive at­ti­tude about head­ing back to school is to lead by ex­am­ple, Dr Car­rGregg said.

“Par­ents just need to model the phys­i­cal en­thu­si­asm that you want in your kids,” he said.

“I think the key is to be re­ally in­ter­ested and en­er­getic; take a real in­ter­est in their sub­jects and an in­ter­est in their home­work.”

SO­CIAL GATH­ER­ING Friend­ship has a big im­pact on mak­ing young ones feel at ease in a new en­vi­ron­ment.

For chil­dren start­ing high school or a new school, Dr Carr-Gregg sug­gests par­ents try to reframe the daunt­ing task of leav­ing the com­fort of their old friends be­hind with a more pos­i­tive ap­proach.

“Tell them that this is an op­por­tu­nity to make new friends,” he said.

Chil­dren in their early years of school­ing can also greatly ben­e­fit from a bit of guid­ance in this area.

“You need to be their so­cial sec­re­tary,” Dr Car­rGregg said. “Get to know the other par­ents and in­vite kids over for play dates.”

TREAT YOUR­SELF Dr Carr-Gregg said it was also im­por­tant for par­ents to make an ef­fort to look after their own well­be­ing at stress­ful times like these.

“For the first drop-off, drop and go, don’t hang around,” he said. “And then look after your­self: go to the gym, have cof­fee with some mates.

“Just re­mem­ber that par­ent­ing is not an ex­er­cise in mar­tyr­dom.”

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