Prepare your children for school

With the lazy, summer days at an end, it is a great time to evaluate what we can do as parents to set our children up for success this school year.

With the lazy, summer days at an end, it is a great time to evaluate what we can do as parents to set our children up for success this school year.

Let’s take a look at common stressors for our kids: getting up early, peer pressure, struggles with schoolwork and homework.

We know we can’t eliminate these school essentials, but what can we do to limit their impact?

Having firm bed times really helps eases the inability to get up in the morning. Setting a firm bedtime, with the last half hour to read or have quiet time in their room sets the tone for a relaxing night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation is a big contributor to an inability to learn well.

Peer Pressure can’t be eliminated, but we can help our kids to feel confident with their own morals, decisions and beliefs in themselves.

Build them up every morning when they leave with positive statements such as; “You’re so good at making your own choices.” “You know what is best for you.” “Follow your instincts; if it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!” “You are smart, kind and a great student – I love you.”

Imagine if you were told these positive statements every morning of your life, what an impact they would have on your own self esteem and belief in yourself.

For kids, just knowing you love them and believe in them means so much as they go through their daily challenges. These challenges may not seem very big as a parent, but to a kid they are huge.

Peer pressure and having friends is one of the biggest struggles throughout their school years.

Add to the equation school work that is not being understood, tests and homework when all they want to do is have free time and be “somewhere else,” and you have a recipe for rebellion, skipping classes, grouchy kids and unsuccessful students.

How do you help your child through a learning challenge?

Talk to the teacher very early in year and let he/she know about your child’s difficulties.

You know your child best, so offer what worked in previous years as suggestions to set them up for success.

What modifications can be made in the classroom environment? Is there some extra work that you can do at home each night, a half hour of one on one help may be more than your child receives all day at school if they are in a typical large class setting. Sympathize with your child, as they need to feel understood, loved and not judged because of their learning challenge.

Help your child to study by asking aloud some questions that may be on the test (often teachers will give a study sheet).

Use times like driving to a sports activity, making a meal or cleaning up, for spontaneous quizzes. This really helps them to know which areas they need to focus their studying on.

As parents, we can enable our kids, or help to build them up with confidence and esteem to become independent thinking young adults able to face challenges and make productive, healthy decisions that are best for their growth and education.

• Back to School Wellness Seminar, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7:15 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lacombe Chamber Commerce meeting room. $7 charge. Snack included. RSVP to

Lacombe freelance columnist Judy Holt is a wellness consultant and author of 1 Potato, 2 Potato, Couch Potato to You.