Guest column/School bells will be ringing again before we know it

Are your offspring ready to go back to the classroom? Football teams have been practicing for their first big games. Is there excitement all around your family as you sort through last year’s school clothes and realize how much the children have grown during the summer? There are shoes and socks to buy, school supply lists to fill. There are a lot of extras in those shopping aisles to capture attention, and you are mentally tallying up your total at the cash register.

There are other considerations. Will each child adapt easily to the classroom, their new teachers, the other students? Some experts say there always will be resilient kids and there will be others not so much in these challenging times we live in.

What are you doing to prepare for the return to the routine of school in session? Cleveland Clinic offers some suggestions regarding back-to-school anxiety.

What is the morning routine like at your house? Can you practice a bit and fine tune it so it isn’t quite so stressful for you and the kids? What time does each child have to get up? What has to be done before everyone can get out the door?

Some school districts are hosting an open house a few days before school opens. This is an opportunity to accompany your child through the school to find the right classroom, meet the teacher, know which desk and locker will be his or hers for the school year.

Give your child your full attention when he or she is trying to talk to you about their concerns. Put aside all the distractions ­– including electronic devices — so you can see and hear your child’s worries and concerns. They need your assurances because you have been around the block a time or two, so you understand what they are facing. And when you all are back home, sitting at the dinner table or having one-on-one time with each child, ask about their day. Did anything funny, interesting happen? What did they do? What was the best thing about their whole day? They learn from you, so when you are constructively handling your stress, they are honing their life-skills tools so they will know how to handle their own stress.

If you are concerned about your child and how they will cope with things, communicate with the teacher. Let her know your concerns, what to watch for and how to redirect away from negative situation outcomes. If kids are going to do their best at learning, they need enough sleep to be rested. Nine to nine-and-a-half hours per night is recommended. It’s a temptation to have electronics in a bedroom, but it’s also discouraged. Electronics keep them awake longer. Cell phones easily keep youth awake well into the night so they can’t get up for school the next morning.

Then there is healthy nutrition. Use the food pyramid as a reference. Breakfast is important because it’s been a long time since supper the night before. You’ve heard it before, breakfast is “breaking the fast,” and a good breakfast is important to keep the energy flowing until lunchtime. And nobody can learn well if their brains are sluggish.

The days of summer vacation are winding down. Enjoy time with your children around a campfire or the backyard barbecue pit, at the park, shooting hoops, tossing your line in the lake. These are the best days of your life.

Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all. For information about the agency’s treatment and education programs, contact the center at 1010 N. Sixth St., Steubenville, Ohio; by phone at (740) 283-4946; by e-mail at info@familyrecovery.org; or by visiting the website at familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded in part by the Jefferson County Prevention and Recovery Board.

(Brownfield is a publicist with the Family Recovery Center.)


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