Talk to your children

As school prepares to begin, parents should make an effort to get involved

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Edgar County students will be returning to their classrooms next week. It’s a good time for students and parents to prepare for the year ahead.

Spark PE, a research-based group providing programs for teachers and recreation leaders, has a few points of advice for parents that might help ease families back into the year.

Set up a bedtime and wake-up routine in advance, if possible. The Sleep Foundation recommends school-aged children (6-13 years) get nine to 11 hours of sleep each night. For teenagers, the group recommends eight to 10 hours.

Get to know your child’s new teachers. There are plenty of opportunities. Every school in Edgar County hosts an open house. Check on your school’s web site for information and take advantage of visiting the school.

Parents who are actively involved in their child’s school will find their child will not only enjoy school more but will have greater success. Schedule and attend as many activities as you can with your child at school.

If you can, find a few minutes to talk to your child’s teacher (or teachers) one-on-one. If you and/or they are too busy, drop an email and introduce yourself, letting them know how to get in contact with you and how you can help throughout the year.

Plan out healthy, balanced meals and snacks – fruits, vegetables, proteins – to help power your kid through the day.

Dedicate a place in the house to school. Use it to keep backpacks, outfits, coats and a calendar of upcoming events. Any school-related supplies can be kept here as well, along with healthy, grab-and-go snacks.

Provide teachers and administrators at your kid’s school with a list of any medical concerns your child has: allergies, emergency medications, emergency contact information.

Talk to your kids about bullying. The second-best time to talk to kids about bullying is after it has occurred. The best time to talk about it is now. Make sure they understand how they should treat their fellow students and how they themselves should expect to be treated. Discuss with them about speaking up if they feel they are being bullied or see someone else being bullied.

Don’t forget to ask your children about their concerns. A new school year, new teachers, possibly a new school – it’s a lot to take in for students. Make a special effort to talk about the school year — what they’re looking forward to, what they’re worried about.

Revisit it regularly throughout the year, helping them work through any bumps in the academic or social road they may experience.

Let’s have a safe and successful school year.