Tips can make back to school easier

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 6, 2010

Stop, look and come on down to the Natchez Mall and you could be the recipient of free school supplies and lots of information to help get this school year off to a great start.

Local community agencies will be hosting their first back-to-school safety and health awareness fair from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Natchez Mall.

The success of this event will depend largely on the support of local residents. School supplies, promotional items and various door prizes will be given to the public.

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Health, nutritional, fire and school safety information, including tips on dealing with diabetes, bullying, tobacco and abstinence, will be provided.

This event is to help prepare and ready our youth for a great school year. Area vendors such as Walgreens, Kimbrell’s The Markets, Walmart, Smith Printing, Families First, the Mississippi Tobacco Free Coalition, the Mississippi Shine Project, ASU 4-H, ASU health clinic, the Natchez Children’s Home, Generation Free, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Natchez Fire Department, the Natchez Police Department, Smoke Free Air Mississippi, Jefferson Comprehensive Health Center and the Adams County Health Department will be on site to provide information.

The area agencies in the Miss-Lou know that children aren’t the only ones who struggle with the back-to-school transition. Adjusting to a child’s back-to-school routine and related activities can be stressful for parents as well. Below are some tips to help parents succeed with back-to-school hassles.

Do you homework. Find out what your child will be studying in school this year. Participate in any open houses or parent/teacher conferences that your child’s school may offer. Being aware of what is on the horizon can help you plan and organize your schedule accordingly, without any last minute hassles.

Talk to your kids. Communication is key. Ask your child about his or her day after school. Find out what his or her favorite classes are and what food they like or dislike in the cafeteria. Ask what classmates they get along with best. If you are apprehensive about sending your child away to school all day, talking with them and understanding their routine may help you feel at ease.

Safety first. Develop a safety plan for different situations and scenarios and make sure your children know and understand your safety rules. Knowing that your children understand and respect the need for safety rules can help keep your worry in check.

Set up a homework routine. It can be frustrating to always be asking if your child’s homework is done and subsequently nagging them until it is completed. Setting up a time and place for homework will help your child get into the habit of completing their homework every day without prompting. Instituting a rule such as no TV or video games until all homework is finished can also help motivate children.

Encourage extracurriculars. It is important that kids learn from an early age how to effectively balance school work with extracurricular activities. Talk openly with your child to see if you can gain a sense of what sort of activities they may enjoy most and discuss the ideas with them. Extracurricular activities can help children stay in shape and develop valuable teamwork skills.

Worried? Don’t let them know.

Expressing your anxieties around your children will only encourage them to worry as well. Model confidence and keep your cool and your child will likely follow suit.

Know what is normal and what is not.

If you or your child are experiencing serious anxiety, physical illness or mental health issues, contact your family physician or other qualified health expert. Some anxiety is normal for both parents and students with the start of a new school year, but it is important to seek help when necessary.

We’re counting on your support and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Angela Ivory is the Adams County Youth Court’s Families First facilitator.