Special to GUIDON
The 2018-2019 school year started Wednesday for the Waynesville R-VI School District and several surrounding school districts.
A new school year can be a hectic time for educators, students and parents alike. Here are nine tips from the U.S. Department of Education that parents can use to help students start the year off right:
1. Visit the school. If you haven’t already done so, walk or ride the route your child will take and make note of school patrols, crossing guards and high traffic areas along the way. Talk to your kids about not talking to strangers and find out what, if any, policies your child’s school has regarding early arrivals or late pick-ups. Learn about the school’s entrance and exit policies.
2. Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher, and ask him or her about preferred methods of communication. Some teachers are active on email and social media, while others prefer the phone or in-person meetings.
3. Make homework time a daily habit. Find a quiet and consistent place at home where your child can complete his or her homework. If your child is having difficulty with his or her homework, make an appointment with the teacher sooner rather than later.
4. Prepare a study area. Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.
5. Take charge of TV time. Limit the time that you let your child watch television, and when you do decide to do TV time, make it a family affair. Talk together about what you see and ask questions after the show ends.
6. Get everyone to bed on time. During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule, which is understandable. But, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your kids get back on track sleep-wise by having them go to bed earlier and wake up earlier at least a week in advance of when school actually starts.
7. Make healthy meals. Let’s face it — no one can concentrate when they’re hungry. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school. Fix nutritious meals at home, and, if you need extra help, find out if your family qualifies for any child nutrition programs, like the National School Lunch Program.
8. Get a check-up. It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam either before school starts or as soon as possible thereafter. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. Always keep your own copies of any medical records.
9. Plan to read with your child every day. Make a plan to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together.
(Editor’s note: A version of this article originally appeared on “Home Room,” the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education. You can find this and other helpful articles at ED.gov.)