Kaysia Kerr, CEO of the National Parenting Commission (NPSC) is encouraging parents and guardians to reintroduce the morning routine to their children from now in preparation for the 2019/20 school year.
“They should not wait until the first morning of school or the night before to start putting children back into the routine which would have been broken during the summer holidays,” Kerr said.
“Not only should they ensure that sleep habits return, but the entire routine of getting out of the house must be considered”— Kaysia Kerr, CEO of NPSC
Ms Kerr said the children would have become used to staying up later or sleeping later or both, and this would have disturbed the sleep pattern, so parents and guardians should start easing their child into getting into bed early and waking up earlier for the start of the new school year.
Healthy Meal Options
“Not only should they ensure that sleep habits return, but the entire routine of getting out of the house must be considered. Start looking at breakfast ideas; children do not want the same thing every day, especially the smaller ones. This will become mundane,” she noted.
“So, we have to start thinking of various healthy options. When persons are rushing out, sometimes breakfast is compromised in terms of the nutritional value, so what we want is the children to get a good start with a healthy meal,” Ms Kerr added.
Get Involved In Orientation Exercises
She is also imploring parents and guardians to be present at orientation to ask all the right questions, air concerns and meet with as many teachers as possible, and the principal if possible.
“The same way the children are going to make new friends, you should want to meet the parents.”— Kaysia Kerr, CEO of NPSC
“If your child has special requirements, these discussions must be had early, for example, a student who may require preferential seating, or assistive devices in order for them to function,” she explained.
Ms Kerr pointed out that when school and home partner, children perform better, social behaviour improves or they maintain the good standard that is set at home and the standards that are expected at school.
Build Parent Networks
Therefore, parents should ensure that as they prepare for back-to-school, they also have a mindset to work with the schools. She is also encouraging parents and guardians to create networks.
“The same way the children are going to make new friends, you should want to meet the parents. Start the process of fellowshipping with other parents, so when things are going bad there are others who can lend support,” Ms. Kerr said.
Let the children know the importance of being vigilant, especially when they are commuting on public transportation.— Kaysia Kerr, CEO of NPSC
Child safety is always a big concern for the NPSC, so Ms. Kerr said parents should ensure that schools have their correct address and current telephone contacts at all times. Children should also know their address and the telephone contacts of their caregivers.
“Let the children know the importance of being vigilant, especially when they are commuting on public transportation. If there is a part of the commute that involves walking, encourage the child to walk in groups and if walking alone, they should be vigilant of the surroundings.
“Let the children know the importance of being vigilant”— Kaysia Kerr, CEO of NPSC
They should walk briskly and with purpose, don’t look as though he or she is idling, because then the child will become prey to those persons who are in the business of hurting children,” she said.
In addition, Ms Kerr said children must be advised how they engage strangers and even adults they believe to be responsible or adults they know.
“We encourage open and honest conversation, so when a child speaks about an encounter which leaves them uncomfortable, it is important that you not only listen but you also investigate with a view to act,” she added.
Back-to-school also has its financial pressures, so parents and guardians should seek out where it is possible to get items, such as second-hand books.
“Do not get too caught up in getting the name-brand, instead look for the sturdiest bag that will last longer. In many instances the brand names that we see are fake and, therefore, the quality is not there. Therefore, choose quality over what is socially acceptable,” she urged.
Ms Kerr said parents’ involvement in their child’s school should not be limited to the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings. “This is something that we want to drive home. Parents should look at opportunities/avenues that they can serve the school,” she emphasised.