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. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
- Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun! She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
- Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your youngster can walk to school or ride on the bus.
- If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her 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, and they may be difficult to roll in snow.
Developing good homework and study habits
- Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent 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 set stays 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. Checklists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.