If you’ve been following my activities on social media, you know I have a college freshman and a second-grader. Though there are several years in between them, back-to-school season is never not scary — especially when you have a child in another state.
No matter the situation attending school can cause an immense amount of anxiety and COVID-19 doesn’t make it any better. In our local school district, more than 8,000 kids are either isolating or quarantining. Did I mention school has only been in for a week? Local districts are banned from implementing mask mandates, but that’s for another blog post.
Whether your kids have already started school or you’re making final preparations, parents should take the initiative and make sure their kids have everything they need for a happy and healthy school year. For many children, this will be the start of the year with familiar faces and for others, this will be the start of a year full of new faces. Either way, I have you covered with some amazing tips for a seamless transition! Take a peek at some issues below that every parent should make time to address with their kids.
There are bullies in all aspects of life and in every grade of school — even college. Parents need to prepare their children for these bullies and explain to their kids why some kids are bullies. Bullies usually stem from living in inadequate homes with minimal support or access to resources. Parents should teach their children how to handle a situation when they are confronted with a bully.
The best way to react to a situation that involves a bully would be to notify an authoritative figure in the school such as a guidance counselor or principal. Parents should also teach their children to ignore bullies and seek help. If the situation becomes heated and the bully tries to cause physical harm to them they should try their best to defend themselves. Kids who have never been in a school setting before might not be aware of bullies and for this reason, parents should talk with them to let them know what bullies are.
2. Making Friends
Making friends can be very difficult in a school setting — especially with social distancing and masking up. Children can be mean ya’ll! In fact, they will often prey on those who appear weaker and those are usually the kids who appear quiet and kind. Children really just want to fit in and they will hang around a group of kids who pick on them hoping to be accepted. Children need to understand that “friends” who hurt them and talk about them behind their back are not friends. Parents should talk to their children about the meaning of friendship so that they know what to expect.
Children will have to work in teams in school to complete assignments and projects. Working in teams calls for social interaction and it is important that parents encourage their children to play a vital role on their teams. Children should be taught that their team might contain children with different temperaments; those who are overachievers, those who are underachievers, those who are eager, and those who are passive. It is best if parents can encourage their children to be somewhere between an overachiever and an eager individual and not to get discouraged by the ones who appear to be extremely smart and go-getting.
4. Speaking Up
Children who never speak up in class often go unnoticed and they may start to suffer from low self-esteem since they will not stand out as much as their peers. Children should be taught that it is good to speak up in class and that it is okay if they do not get all the answers right. Learning to speak up as a child will help children for when they are older and need to communicate in business meetings, with their coworkers, bosses, and even professors. Those who speak up exude considerable confidence.
5. Be Yourself
Children will be judged by their looks such as their clothing, sneakers, race, hair, face, and body. They may not be accepted by the children they want to be accepted by and so they might alter their appearance or their personality to fit in. A sweet girl may become an impolite girl and a gentle boy may become a raunchy one, all so that they will fit in.
Sometimes change is good but oftentimes it can be for the worse. Parents should teach their children that they should be themselves and be comfortable in their own skin and that they should not have to alter their personality to fit in anywhere. If children constantly change to fit in with others they will never be able to come into themselves and figure out who they are as a person. They will go through life insecure following others.
6. Avoiding Risky Behaviors
Wearing masks has become so politicized that people aren’t sure which way to turn. Even though our school district isn’t enforcing mask mandates and continues to be in the national news because of it, we have implemented a mask mandate in our home. Regardless of what the other children are doing, we’ve advised our children that our expectation is that they wear their masks at all times. It may be an inconvenience for some people but contracting COVD-19 is an even bigger inconvenience.
We also have a college freshman who will be exposed to many things he wasn’t exposed to at home. For the first time, he is in a position where he is having to make his own decisions independently of us. The topic of sex and drugs should never be left up in the air. Even if parents have already had the talk with their children before, they should have it again — which we have. The pressures of sex, drugs, drinking, and other risky behaviors get stronger each year for students.
The thought of this is terrifying, but we know we’ve prepared him well. He may be thousands of miles away. However, we know he will carry our guidance with him wherever he goes.
Can you think of anything else that should be added to this list? Let me know in the comments below!