Back to School Tips

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Back to School Tips
26 August 2015

Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement… and anxiety. Help calm your child’s fears (and your own) with these teacher-approved tips.

Meet the new teacher.
For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is “Will I like my new teacher?” Breaking the ice early on is one of the best ways to calm everyone’s fears. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins.

If personal contact with the teacher isn’t possible, try locating the teacher’s picture on a school website or in a yearbook, so your child can put a name with a face. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.

Tour the school.
If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go. Familiarizing your child with her environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground.

With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory and yours.

Connect with friends.
A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. You might try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year. Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

Tool up.
Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool notebook or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun.

School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used. Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as colored pencils or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.

Avoid last-minute drilling.
When it’s almost time to stop playing, give a five-minute warning. Giving clear messages to your child is very important.

Chat about today’s events and tomorrow’s plans.
While it is important to support learning throughout the summer, don’t spend the last weeks of summer vacation reviewing last year’s curriculum. All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute drills can heighten anxiety, reminding them of what they’ve forgotten instead of what they remember.

Ease into the routine.
Switching from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful to everyone in the household. Avoid first-day-of-school mayhem by practicing your routine a few days in advance. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.

School Bus Safety Tips for Your Child

According to the NHTSA, riding in a school bus is the safest way for your child to travel to and from school. However, the "danger zone" when approaching or leaving the bus poses the greatest risk for children. They should be especially careful in the area 10 feet behind, in front, or on either side of the bus. Children should also respect the bus driver and follow his or her rules while riding the bus and stay quietly seated on the ride to school. Here are a few school bus safety tips you can teach your child if he or she will be riding the bus to school this year:

1. Do not get on the bus until the driver says it is safe to do so. 
 The school bus driver takes several steps to ensure the safety of all children on and off the bus. The stop sign folds out, lights flash, and the guard rail expands to alert traffic that a child is boarding. The bus driver will open the doors after coming to a complete stop and will tell the child when it is safe to get on the bus.

2. Ask the driver for help if you drop something while getting on or off the bus. 
 If your child drops something while getting on or off the bus, he or she should notify the bus driver immediately and ask for help. A child kneeling to pick up a book can easily go unseen and is at a greater risk for being hit by an oncoming vehicle.

3. Once on the school bus, go directly to your seat and sit down, facing the front of the bus. 
 Horseplay and unsafe activity is not often tolerated on school buses. Children should not stand or climb on the seats when the bus is moving. In many cases, the bus driver will not move from the bus stop until all children are seated and facing forward.

4. When exiting the bus, look around for cars before walking away or crossing the street. 
 Your child should look both ways before stepping off the bus. If he or she needs to cross the street, instruct him or her to walk 5 giant steps in front of the bus, cross in front of the bus when the driver indicates it is safe to do so, and look both ways for oncoming traffic before crossing the road.

5. Do not wait at the bus stop alone. 
 Children should not wait at a bus stop by themselves without adult supervision. Traffic, strangers, road debris - the list of possible dangers goes on and on. Walk or drive your child to the bus stop and wait patiently until the bus arrives and your child is safely seated.

6. Use the handrails when getting on and off the bus. 
 To avoid tripping or losing balance, encourage children to use the handrails when boarding or exiting the bus. Keep an eye out for loose clothing, book bag straps, or draw strings that may get caught on the railings or doors.

7. If you miss the bus, don't run after it! 
 If your child is running late and happens to just miss the bus, DO NOT encourage him or her to run after it or attempt to flag down the bus driver. Too often, children arriving late for the school bus dart into oncoming traffic and are seriously injured.

As a driver, slow down when approaching bus stops and keep an eye out for children playing near the street. Obey all traffic signs and slow down in school zones to avoid costly fines and legal repercussions. If your child has been injured at a bus stop or on the ride to school, you should seek medical attention immediately. You can contact the experienced accident attorneys at George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers to discuss whether or not you may be able to file a personal injury claim.