With summer almost gone and the new school year just around the corner we would like to take this time to prepare you and your child on what to expect and get ready for a fun-filled, safe school year.
This is one of the biggest things that often gets overlooked when starting the school year. However, we need to remember that this can have the biggest impact on our children today and in later years in life. Backpacks make it easy to carry all your school day essentials. Balancing all those books, papers, notebooks, binders, and school supplies can be a real pain but backpacks can be a real pain. A heavy backpack can strain your child’s neck and/or back. However, backpacks are unfortunately a fact of a school age child’s life.
A few points to remember when buying a back pack:
· Choose a lightweight backpack so you don’t add extra unnecessary weight to your books and supplies.
· Try to purchase one with multiple compartments so you can distribute the weight evenly.
· Try a back pack with wheels (first be sure that your school allows them).
· Make sure you pick one with wide, heavy padded straps; this way it won’t dig into your shoulders. Some also have a padded back for more comfort.
· Also make sure you look for adjustable straps, not every child is the same height and you want make sure it fits properly and evenly.
· Even a waist strap can help, the strap will help distribute some weight off the shoulders, neck, and upper back to the lower back.
Be kind to your neck, back and shoulder with the proper techniques on how to wear a back pack.
Sometimes wearing a backpack can give a kid a backache, headache or cause pain in the neck and shoulders. To avoid this follow some simple rules:
· Use both shoulder straps; this distributes the weight more evenly. Wearing it on one side can cause you to lean to one side.
· Stand up straight if your backpack makes your child hunch forward or lean to one side there is obviously too much weight in the pack, or it is not distributed evenly.
· This should be a no brainer, but limit the amount of weight that is in the backpack. Carry as few books as possible. If you can leave books behind, do so.
· Give your back a break. When you can leave your backpack in a locker and just carry a book or two or whatever you need, then do it.
Some sad facts and what some professionals recommend on backpack safety.
· 55% of students carry more of the national guideline of weight for their size in their backpacks. Doctors recommend carrying no more than 10% to 15% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 80 pounds, your backpack shouldn’t weigh more than 8 to 12 pounds
· Up to 60% of children will experience back pain by the time they are 18 years old.
· Doctors recommendation of weight for each child’s back pack is below:
No more than 7.5 lbs.
No more than 12 lbs.
No more than 15 lbs.
No more than 19.5 lbs.
The School Bus
Young children should always be supervised by an adult when walking to school or waiting for the bus. As your child gets older, he/she will want to travel without an adult. Before allowing this, make sure you are comfortable with his/her level of responsibility and try to find another child in the neighborhood with whom he/she can walk to school or ride the bus.
Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don’t know well or don’t trust.
Whether your child is walking, biking, or riding the bus to school, teach him/her to obey all traffic signals, signs, and traffic officers and to be extra careful in bad weather.
Be sure that your child knows his/her home phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult, and how to call 911 for emergencies
Review these basic rules with your child before the time comes:
· Do not play in the street while waiting on the bus.
· Wait for the bus to completely stop before approaching it.
· Be sure to check for oncoming traffic (look both ways) before crossing the street to get on the bus.
· Carry all loose belonging in a bag or backpack and NEVER reach under the bus to get anything that has fallen.
· Always stay seated on the bus and remain in the bus drivers view.
· When getting off the bus, be sure to move immediately to the sidewalk and out of traffic.
Eating at School – Making the right food choices.
Eating well is extremely important to your child’s health and performance during school. So we have to start with the first meal of the day, a well-balanced breakfast (some schools provide a breakfast) so however your child obtains their breakfast make sure it is a nutritious and healthy one.
· Try to get your child to pick healthy choices such as fresh fruits, low-fat dairy products (yogurts are a great source of nutrition) water, and 100% fruit juices in the vending machines.
· If your child brings a lunch to school be sure to prepare a wholesome and nourishing meal and allow them to watch you do this and allow their help and input. Their direct involvement will foster healthy habits.
· If your child eats lunch at school educate your child about nutritious options and encourage healthy choices.
· Be an advocate- try to get the school to stock healthy choices.
· Restrict your child’s soft drink consumption. Research shows that drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%, each 12 ounce can of soda contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories.
Remember good eating habits start at home!!!
Bullying is a problem that affects lots of kids. Three-quarters of all kids say they have been bullied or teased. Bullying bothers everyone, and not just the kids that are being picked on. Bullying can make school a place of fear and can lead to more violence and more stress for everyone involved.
Who is a bully and where they come from.
· Some kids bully to look for attention
· Some kids are just angry because they have been bullied themselves and they think it is ok to bully someone else.
· Sometimes bullies do not even realize what they are doing or saying can hurt another person. Some come from families that there is anger and shouting all the time and for them to that to someone else they think it is ok.
· Bullies often pick on someone smaller or someone they think they can have power over. A child that might cry or get upset easily. This makes a bully feel they have power over someone else.
· Sometimes they just pick on kids for no reason at all.
So what can you do about your child being bullied? In the end, most bullies end up in trouble but be proactive.
· Talk to your child, if you notice a different behavior in them after starting school, get to the bottom of it right away.
· If you find your child is being bullied, talk to teachers, guidance counselors and the principal of the school. Even attempt the talk to the other child’s parent.
· Teach your child to stand tall and stay strong and calm in difficult situations.
· Help them respond appropriately, communicate with your child about any bullying they experience and be mindful of their moods before and after school.
· Bullying can seriously impede a child’s self-confidence so it is important that you are attentive and encouraging.
Developing good study and homework habits
We as parents only want what is best or our children now and in the future. One of the best things you can instill in your child is how important school and studying is for their future. There are some things you as a parent can do to be sure your child is given the tools to succeed in school and become a responsible adult.
· Set a time aside an adequate amount of time for homework.
· Be sure to provide your child an environment that is tranquil for doing homework.
· They need quiet and privacy so they can focus on the tasks at hand.
· Establish rules for home work time. No phone calls, no TV, no computer chats. This will keep your child more focused.
· Be available for your child during homework time, but there is no need to stand over them the whole time they are doing it. (unless of course your child has an issue staying on task). But making some mistakes is ok because they learn from them.
· Encourage your child to talk about their day, what they learned, what they did, what was the best part of their day, and so forth. You will establish a supportive and open relationship that if a problem should arise in the future you will be able to catch it immediately.
Kidswork hopes all your children have a very enjoyable, fun filled, and successful school year!