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EDUCATION

Preparing children for new academic session

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FOR the past one month, children have been on holiday from school. With this development, many parents heaved a sigh of relief because waking up early to get the children ready for school, the actual school run and assignment wahala were all put on the pause mode. Many parents wish this will last for a long time, but the reality is that in the next few weeks, the new school calendar year will begin.

Going back to school after the holidays had always been a big deal for both parents and their children. For the children, it signals the sudden end to days of uninterrupted fun and other activities, and on the part of the parents, it is back to the stringent routine of school runs and related planning and spending that will definitely follow.

  With these unavoidable changes, the onus is therefore on the parents or guardians to put in place, preparatory tools that will help and guide a less stressful return to school transition. Albeit, there is no doubt that the back-to-school season can be a lot easier for the kids and parents with preparation and forethought.

  Speaking on how to make back to school easier for the parents and the children alike, Mrs Cynthia Onuigbo, a mother and a public servant said, “it is that back to school time of the year again and we can hear the school bells ringing already! It is barely two weeks to resumption here in Nigeria and if you are anything like me, you do not want the holidays to end, yet you are secretly feeling excited that the kids can go back to school and you can have a little breath.

Although it can be so hard to adjust from the restful slow days of holidays to the busy and fast days of the school year, but the reality is that the first day of school will be here before you know it and you definitely want to be ready when it comes. The more prepared you are, the easier and more fun it becomes. Some of these are helpful tips to help get your children/wards ready for school resumption:

  Get back to your early morning routines

  At the minimum, a week before school starts, parents should apply the ‘early to bed, early to rise’ formula. Slowly reintroduce the usual early morning routine and discuss the resumption and expectations of the new school calendar with their kids to get them back into an earlier bedtime routine and wake them at the time they will need to get up for school.

This will help them get used to the routine and reduce any arguments that may arise on the first day of school and even on subsequent days. Practicing these early morning routines, helping them settle in bed early and prepare ahead for the following day is critical to a gradual mental reprogramming for the children. These steps help both the parents, and the children gradually settle into the routines ahead of the D-day.

  Facilitate your child’s bonding with new teachers, classmates, and the school

  This step is essential for children starting at a new school or in a new class for the new session. Ensuring that your child feels connected to his or her teacher, mates, and the school will help their onboarding process. If there is an orientation day before resumption, make time to take a tour with the kids around the school, the playground, and the library area to help the kids look forward to resuming. This will also help the child overcome the fear of the unknown and settling into the new environment.

  In addition, you can prepare your child to create bonding connections with their new teachers, as it is natural for children to feel nervous meeting a new face, who also happens to be the teacher.

  Also, airing her view, Mrs Charity Ezeanya, a teacher in one of the Primary Schools in Awka Metropolis, said, “another new school session is already bearing down on parents with less than a week or two for their kids to resume. Most parents are experiencing mixed feelings, on one hand anticipating the first day of school and on the other, calculating huge school bills that need to be paid.

However, before you jump for joy, remember that back to school also means resuming your early morning duties of getting the kids ready for school, packing lunch and loads of homework to boot. To prevent any last-minute hassles and stress, and help your children transit seamlessly “back to school” activities, parents should be conscious of some ‘back-to-school’ necessities like:

  School messages

  Now is the time to check and read all the emails and messages from your child’s school that was earlier ignored. If you have your inbox or Whatsapp chat loaded with unread messages, take time to sort the mails and messages for the ones that have to do with your kid’s school. You may find very important information that you may have missed.

  Prepare for school supplies

  One thing you do not want to deal with is anxiety. Do not let the back to school rush get you in a fluster. Start now to pick up on all school supplies – snacks, stationeries, lunch bags, school bag, etc. Drawing up a timetable for your child’s snacks and lunch will help you be more in control of what your kids eat and drink at school.

  Back to school clothing

  Go over your children’s clothing now. Kids grow and increase in size just as they play also. So of course, you would most likely need to do a random check for tears and determine if the kids can still conveniently wear them and be comfortable in them. Whether you are buying new school wears or patching things up, it is good to tick that aspect off as soon as possible. Do not forget a trip to the barber or hair salon. Do not leave this to a day before school as you may be swamped with other activities.

  ‘Waking up the brain’

  After “weeks of fun” spent during the long holiday, your child may struggle to get back into the mood for school work. To counter this, two weeks before school resumes, introduce worksheets, reading and writing activities to your kids to help them prepare for academic work. There are learning games online that can help kids “wake up the brain” and put them in the school mood quick.

  New term goals

  Review their last term assessment reports and results to determine areas to work on with their class teacher and have a discussion with your children. If they are starting a new school, you can have conversations with your kids’ new teacher(s) on the areas of improvement and realistic expectations.

  In his own view, an educational analyst, Mr Onyeka Uzondu hinted on some requirements for children’s ‘back-to-school’ preparations.

  Lunch Box and Water Bottle: I advise that parents should take their children with them when going to buy these items to show them how to open and close them and ensure they can do this with ease before buying them, because you may not be able to return or exchange it if you change your mind and you will not want food or liquid spilling all over books and clothes if it is not closed properly bearing in mind that a teacher will more than likely have at least 15-20 children in his or her class and really won’t have the time to open and close lunch boxes and water bottle for each and every one of them. You want your kids to be as independent as possible all day long.

  Shoes: It is important that these are practical options. Velcro Straps are my go to option for school shoes any day because children are not always patient enough for the lace up shoes and cannot even tie them by themselves. I suggest parents double-check with their kid’s schools to ensure they buy what is compliant with their dress code.

  School Bag: Sturdy, durable, washable/wipe-able is the watchword when choosing a school bag. Also check the padding around the strap so that it is comfortable to wear. Most wheely bags cause tripping hazards and they are sometimes too cumbersome for younger kids to deal with.

  Groceries, snacks and food list: What is school resumption without grocery and food shopping anyway? It is important to stock up on items you will need for their lunch or snack box. Two weeks balanced food list ahead of time after which you can now recycle and change things up a bit .This is because waiting to decide what to fill their lunch bag with every morning can be such an overwhelming chore especially if you have picky eaters and not a lot of time on your hands.

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