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Parents hold the key to back to school success
First day of school anxiety will be felt by students in the North Kitsap School District as much as it is anywhere in United States, as scores of schools around the country get underway following the Labor Day holiday.
And though teachers, principals and counselors will be ready to help students make the transition into the year smoothly, nerves can put to ease before the three-day weekend, by those most familiar to the students their moms and dads.
Parents are the first and most important teachers, said Marylou Murphy, executive director of Teaching and Learning in the North Kitsap School District. (They) can best prepare their kids for school by providing a loving, supportive environment that provides lots of opportunities to learn and grow.
Approximately 6,500 preschool to high school students will return to North Kitsaps classrooms Wednesday and theres plenty that parents can do to prepare their sons and daughters for the experience.
Communication is perhaps the most vital aspect of sending their offspring to a new grade. Simply by keeping an open ear, parents can make a difference in their childrens lives, no matter if theyre entering kindergarten or their last year of high school.
One of the most important things that a parent can do for their child to get ready for school is to spend time listening to their childs concerns about going back to school, said Shirley Parrot, the instructional support teacher at Vinland Elementary. Parents dont need to come up with the perfect answer, they just need to listen.
Keeping an upbeat attitude is also important, Parrot added.
A positive attitude can make all the difference in the world, Parrot said. Be excited with them model an adventurous spirit and attitude. If you are worried, theyll pick up on it.
In the same way, reflecting on the negatives of the first day experience can be counterintuitive, Murphy said.
Talk through any fears the child may have ... but dont dwell on fears, she said. Do not talk about your less-than-positive school experiences.
Many families might have also adjusted to the summer schedule where bedtimes become more lax and eating times are varied. Its important to take steps now about a week before school to get them on the school night schedule.
We all know that we, as adults, dont cope with stress as effectively if were tired and this goes for children also, Parrot said.
Murphy suggests a variety of foods to help students get back on track, including fruits, vegetables and those that have lots of calcium and protein.
Preparation also can make all the difference in the world. Parrot suggests getting school supplies as soon as possible and making a visit to school before the first day. Back-to-school night is ideal to help shake off anxiety.
Knowing where you are going and what your teacher looks like has a very calming affect on everyone, Parrot said.