BY: ANDREW STEWART
Starting the new school year can be a time of great excitement… and anxiety. This year I had mixed emotions about school starting again. Although it will be nice to no longer have to plan eight-hour stretches of entertainment (“Sure, we can play ‘can you find me under the blanket’ for the seventeenth time!”) I’ll miss those tender parental moments summer brings. The joy of teaching your child how to jump into the pool, the pleasure of devouring ice cream cones together on the porch, or the peacefulness of taking post bedtime walks through the neighbourhood.
Role of parents: One thing every parent shouldn’t take lightly is our role in our children’s learning. A parent’s role in their children’s learning evolves as kids grow, one thing remains constant: we are our children’s learning models. Our attitudes about education can inspire theirs and show them how to take charge of their own educational journey. When our children begin formal school, the parent’s job should be to show them how school can be exciting and meaningful by learning new things. My daughter started senior kindergarten this year and already she is looking forward to what she will learn next year and when she gets bigger. Through guidance and reminders, parents help their kids organize their time and support their desires to learn new things in and out of school. One of the most important things a parent can do is notice their child. Are they a talker or are they shy? Find out what interests them and help them explore it. Let your child show you the way they like to learn,” recommends Dalton Miller-Jones, Ph.D.
Talking with teachers: When it comes time to hear how they are progressing in class and to learn more about the teachers it could be a little nerve-racking. Find the right time to speak to the teacher. Always ask if they have time to talk at that moment, or better yet when it might be convenient for them to do so. If a conference is not coming up soon, ask if you can make an appointment for a brief conversation. “Don’t expect to have an extended conversation during drop-off and pick-up. Another alternative is to write short, effective notes. If you want a quick response, keep your correspondence brief. For example, you might say, “Andrew’s been having trouble with the math homework recently. He struggled for thirty minutes and then we stopped. Can we speak for a few minutes at your convenience about how to help?”
Deal with bullying: Not long ago, the idea that a preschooler could be a bully seemed crazy to me. But my outlook changed when my daughter was four. She would ask if she could tell me something on the car ride home. Of course, I would say yes and she would tell me another child in her class would always want what she was playing with or messing with her artwork. We may think that this is an act of bullying (the act of willfully causing harm to others through verbal harassment, physical assault, or social exclusion) This used to be something parents didn’t need to worry about until their child was a teenager. Young kids are mimicking the aggressive behavior they see on TV shows, in video games, and on youtube videos,” explains Susan Swearer, Ph.D., coauthor of Bullying Prevention & Intervention. Ultimately, it’s up to you to help your young child deal with a bully. Be on the lookout for signs that something is bothering them. The immediate urge might be to contact the child’s parent directly. This is the right approach only for persistent acts of intimidation. Call or email them in a non-confrontational way, making it clear that your goal is to resolve the matter together.
Student accident insurance: A new product you might have heard about or received a flyer in the mail is insuremykids® Student Accident Plan – an inexpensive and comprehensive way to protect your family from unexpected expenses year round. Children involved with sports, special interest clubs, and other activities on or off school property. This may be an option because some expenses are not insured under government and group insurance policies such as
- Dental accidents
- Total and permanent disability
- Fractures and dislocations
- Ambulance surcharges
- Private tutoring