Back to School Tips

The kids are heading back to school and it can be quite challenging for parents and children to make the adjustment of school routines, worries about academics, fitting in with peers in school and bullying are some of the concerns. Here are some little reminders to get ready for the new academic year.

1. Ease into school routines

Parents, especially those with younger children, can help their kids prepare for school by getting them on sleep, meals, homework, play and extra curricular schedules that are in sync with the school day.

A rested child is generally in a better mood, more motivated and rest improves memory.

2. Academic refreshers

A couple weeks before school starts back give your child short school like assignments from some of their new books or even some revision from their old books. If you send kids to school without a little revision it is harder for them to get back into the groove of academics.

3.  Get to the root of back-to-school jitters

Most school-aged children look forward to the first day back, but for those who are anxious, figuring out why can help. If children are worried about seeing friends again, arrange some get-togethers with friends before school starts. If the child fears having a new teacher or being in a new classroom, schedule a classroom visit before the school year.

Look out for avoidance behaviors, like crying, clinging or complaining of feeling sick to their stomach and asking to stay home.

4.  Bullying

July/ August might have been a reprieve for children who have been bullied at school. Bullying tends to decrease in schools where adults are responsive. Parents should help their children identify trusted adults at school who can help, including teachers, administrators, janitors, counselors or other staff.

Cyberbullying usually happens when kids are at home. Parents must encourage children to say when something on Facebook or email hurts their feelings or causes embarrassment.

5.  Pressure to fit in

Parents of adolescents, especially those entering secondary school, might see some behavior changes as children try to fit in with peers.

Keep having conversations with adolescents about their values and who they are. Make time for family activities like riding bikes or playing football. Parents should have “check in” talks with their adolescents often to make sure everything is going well in school.

6.  Cell phones, computers

Before the school year begins is also a good time to remind kids of the lasting repercussions of sharing photos, video, texting and other forms of social media electronically. Parents also should get familiar with these tools since they will have to monitor their kids use of these tools.

Similarly, remind teens that email is not private and to think twice before firing off disgruntled emails about teachers from the school library computers.

Bullying an ever increasing problem…

In recent times I have realised that bullying is an ever increasing problems in our nation’s schools and homes. The problem of bullying stems from many deep rooted issues.

Bullying is different from aggression. An aggressive child will be aggressive anywhere, with anyone and this behaviour is usual equal. Bullying on the other hand is an abuse of power, where one child overpowers another and deliberately hurts them (verbally, emotionally or physically). Usually the child being bullied has not done anything to deserve such treatment but has been targeted by the bully to show off his/her power on a continuous basis.
Generally, boys are more outright with bullying behaviour, therefore it appears more common amongst them. Girls on the other hand bully in less direct ways, for example they might deliberately leave out another girl from play, or activities. Bullying can be more effectively prevented and managed when work is started with younger children, rather than teenagers. The work that is usually done is through education, positive talk sessions, and strong policies in schools against bullying.
Teachers play a vital role in the prevention and management of bullying, since this behaviour occurs mostly in the school setting. Adults need to help the children become assertive, avoid certain situations, and actively help children who are being bullied. This can also be done through education.
Children who are bullied suffer from many different psychological issues. Bullying can cause loss of self esteem, depression, increased isolation, family problems, poor school performance and some children might even start thinking about suicide or revenge.
Children who bully are often unhappy and dissatisfied with aspect of their lives. More times that not bullies have been bullied themselves at one point. They have felt deprived and may have suffered the same imbalance of power, usually from a loved one. Therefore bullies themselves often have low self esteem. In order to feel good about themselves they bring others down. If this behaviour is not checked, the child can go on to delinquent behaviour in adulthood because they would not have learnt how to be responsible and work well with others.
As parents, teachers and adults one of the main ways we can help with the bullying behaviour is by modelling the correct behaviour for our young people. We also need to treat then with respect and love, giving them autonomy. We should not dominate them, demand and tell them what to do at all times, but to talk to our children and treat them with respect and love. We have to do more, educate more, role model more, be more vigilant to prevent the rising incidences of bullying…
Jenna Samaroo