Don't get stressed when preparing for 'back-to-school'
Make the school transition easier with some simple summer steps
By Rob Horsley | Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Photo by "riekhavoc (caught up?)" via Flickr
Every year, parents and students are caught off-guard by the start of a new school year. Many simply choose to leave back-to-school preparation until late August.
William Groot, principal at Toronto District Christian High School, thinks the problem might lie in the amount pressure put on the school habits of students. For a lot of parents and students, not thinking about school for a while might be a healthy practice, says Groot.
Something important to keep in mind, he says, "Remember that school starts when school starts…we have summer vacation time for a good reason."
Part of being prepared for school might mean being relaxed and rested for the upcoming year.
Fred Pauls, principal at Mennonite Brethren Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, thinks that keeping a level of study and organization is a good way to ease the transition from holidays to a new school year.
"Encourage your child to read a book or two over the summer," he says. "Get the kids involved in summer vacation by organizing stuff, because organization in school is a huge deal…and if they do it in things that they enjoy, like family vacation, maybe that'll have some crossover later on in school."
While there might be a strong tendency to spend a large part of summer in front of the television or playing video games, Pauls encourages parents to keep actively involved in finding alternatives to the more sedate pace of summer.
"Go for a bike ride with your kids, go swimming with your kids, go fishing with your kids. Have some time outside and limit the [TV] screen time your kids have over the summertime."
Pauls adds that service projects can be a good way stay organized and active through summer.
"When they get bored they're bored because they're focused on themselves," Pauls says. Thinking about others can be a good source of structure for summer months.
Rob Charach, principal at Winnipeg's Linden Christian School, notes the importance of parents not stressing about the oncoming school year. When parents worry about the onset of a new school year, it doesn't typically translate well for students.
"It adds an extra complication for the child. The more ordered that things are at home, the better," says Charach. "Children always pick up on the sensor feelings of the parents."
Charach notes the difficulty in making general statements about an entire school of individual students. "Each child is different. For some of them it's not a big concern, but other kids, especially if they're switching schools or it's a change in community, it probably is a good idea to take the child to the school and get them an orientation to the layout. If they can meet a few people in the school…that's a positive."
For Christian parents, it's important to keep some spiritual principles in mind when approaching a new year of school.
"From a Christian perspective, I think you begin praying for a good start to the school year," Charach says. He also notes the value in a strong community of family, friends and support for children to be involved with.
"I really believe that it does take a village to raise a child. I think we as Christian parents have to be very prayerful of the type of village we put our children in."
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