Thoughtful Parenting: Gearing up for another school year

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Local shops are beginning to fill with back-to-school shoppers as the first day of school lingers, like a child in a candy aisle. As teachers are prepping their classrooms, parents are transitioning from summer mode to gear up for the school year ahead. Our children, with another year gone by, will be experiencing challenges, triumphs and growth.

Thoughtful Parenting: Youth Services

This weekly column about parenting issues is written by area youth-serving professionals. It publishes on Mondays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.

Whether it’s the first steps into kindergarten or walking through the doors as a freshman, it certainly can be difficult to “turn off” summer and “turn on” academic focus. It could be beneficial to consider the following during this transition period to make it easier on you as the parent and your children:

• First and foremost, enjoy the rest of your summer! Try planning at least one family outing prior to school beginning, taking advantage of the longer days.

• Try to school supply shop sooner than later. Procrastination can leave you standing in aisles looking at empty shelves that once contained a bountiful amount of supplies. This is the difficult part of living in a small town; we don’t have quick access to larger retail stores.

• Review expectations that you have with your children when school begins. These likely look different than they did during the summer months. Establish your expectations regarding academic performance, completing homework, extracurricular activities, etc.

• Talk about your household rules. Curfew may have been two hours later during the summer, but now, it probably will look different during the school week — not to mention that we were enjoying longer days, which soon will shorten as the sun begins to set earlier.

• Show your child that their academics are important to you. Know their school schedule, check out their classroom with them and talk to your child about how they are feeling about going back to school. Get to know your child’s teachers; they are the individuals your children will be spending a majority of their time with throughout the next several months.

School can be exciting and intimidating for children, no matter what age. The kindergartner is walking into a new concept while the freshman is transitioning into an unspoken rite of passage. As a parent, it’s always important to maintain consistency, be supportive, engaged and communicate.

The social and academic norms and pressures that we likely experienced when we went to school have evolved throughout the years, and our children are not experiencing the same things. Take the extra time to nurture and prepare yourself and your children for another adventurous school year. It’s going to be a good year!

Camilla Haight is a caseworker for Routt County Department of Human Services. The Routt County Department of Human Services Child Welfare Department is a member of the Routt County Youth Services Coalition, whose website can be found at www.youthinroutt.org.

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