Making the first day easier
- Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
- Point out the positive aspects of starting school. They'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh their positive memories about previous years, when your child may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because they've had a good time.
- Find another child in the neighbourhood with whom your student can walk to school or ride on the bus.
- If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.
- If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with your) to school and pick them up on the first day.
- Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
- Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child's body weight.
- Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
- If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs.
Developing good homework and study habits
- Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
- Schedule ample time for homework.
Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.
- Supervise computer and Internet use.
- Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's homework for her.
- Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
- If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren't able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.
- Some children need help organizing their homework. Check-lists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.
- If your child is having difficulty focusing on or completing homework, discuss this with your child's teacher, school counselor, or health care provider.