The summer is winding down, and many kids are already back in the classroom or will be in a matter of weeks. While every school year has its challenges, starting kindergarten, heading off to college, or moving to a new school bring unique worries for both students and parents.
I asked my followers on Facebook to share their insights and tips on making those transitions easier for families. I was amazed by their responses, and am pleased to share some of them here with you. If you have more suggestions on making school transitions easier, please share them in the comments.
Many parents agreed checking out the school before classes began was crucial for easing new-student anxiety. Many schools offer official orientation days where teachers and sometimes older students walk the incoming students around the building and answer questions. Other schools will offer individual tours of the school if arranged in advance.
My oldest son entered kindergarten in September 2017, at the age of four. With a mid November birthday, he was one of the youngest students in the class.
Many around me questioned our family’s choice to put him in kindergarten — after all, the overwhelming trend was/is to let kids with late birthdays wait another year. I certainly wondered, at times, if we made the right call. Yet, in my heart, I knew he belonged there.
Sure enough, my oldest continued to thrive. His academic and social skills kept improving, and, by second grade, I couldn’t imagine him being in a grade below, even if some of those kids were in fact older than him.
I have two school-age kids who bring their lunches from home. Though I am far from the healthiest parent, I do try to give my children a variety of foods, and, when possible, pack them items that are homemade.
Still, those prepackaged kid lunch options you find in the supermarket are very tempting, and definitely convenient.
My son and I were at the store together, viewing these very items in the refrigerated section, when I thought of the idea to try and make my own version of this popular item.
I grabbed some pizza dough I had already made, got a muffin tin, and got to work. The result was portable, stackable, packable mini pizza rounds.
If you are a parent looking for an easy school/camp/sports lunch or snack hack. Read on for the super simple recipe.
Like most kids who grew up in the United States, I first learned about Christopher Columbus through the popular poem:
In Fourteen Hundred And Ninety Two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Columbus was part of a greater bunch of lessons that put a positive spin on colonization, and downplayed — or outright ommitted — the atrocities commited against the Indigeneous peoples of the Americas in order for these revered Europeans to succeed.
As I grew up, I discovered American history is not as clean and beautiful as I had once thought, and indeed the founding of my country is full of mess and ugliness.
I am happy to see a shift toward more honest retelling of history in our schools, and an effort to uplift the voices of those figures long overlooked in the story of America. However, I am aware that curriculum is slow to change, and the narrative our kids are ingesting still very much has a Euro-centric spin.
So, when my almost eight-year-old son asked me why he was going to be off from school one Monday in October, I took the opportunity to talk with him about Columbus Day, why we celebrate it, and why that is problematic for many people.
We talked about how whole communities were living here before Christopher Columbus and other Europeans landed on the shores of the Americas, and how he did not in fact “discover” this land. We also spoke deeper about colonization and why European nations saw the Americas as an opportunity for expanding their access to materials such as minerals, crops and more to use to build their economies.
We spoke about how Columbus is credited for starting the colonization of the Americas, eventually leading to the country we live in today. We discussed how being Americans has afforded us many privileges and opportunities, and how fortunate we are to have them. We also discussed how Columbus and others, in order to achieve their visions of colonization killed and exploited the Indigeneous peoples of the Americas and later enslaved millions of Africans brought over to bear the brunt of work required to build up our developing country.
We finished with how many Americans feel we should no longer honor Christopher Columbus and instead lose the holiday all together or change it to honor the Indigeneous peoples of the Americas. We ourselves did not come to a “conclusion” on how we feel about the matter, but I am glad we were able to have a thoughtful discussion on U.S. history.
Even if Columbus Day disappears, I hope our schools will continue to teach our students about him in a way that is honest and reflective of the good and bad of American history.
Kids won’t keep their fingers out of their mouths and noses.
Kids are gross.
Yes, kids are gross.
As a mom of two boys, I know this well. And, one whiff of my house, you would know this, too.
Yes, kids are tiny germ machines, and I understand why many fear them as little vectors of illness.I also don’t underestimate their potential role in spreading COVID-19. However, I think we also need to show children a bit more respect.
While plenty of adults throw tantrums over having to wear a mask for a 20-minute grocery run, plenty of kids wear their masks when needed with little complaint.
Maybe it is because kids are often more caring than adults?
I am not saying it is easy for a child to wear a mask for extended periods of time, nor that every child puts one on without a fight, but I am tired of these blanket assumptions that children are terrible about protecting themselves and others.
Both of my kids have spent hours outside, in the summer heat, in masks. I have seen other children do the same, even while us adults complain about how uncomfortable we are.
For kids, like my oldest, they see a mask as a safe way to do the things he loves. A mask means getting back to school to see his friends. A mask means a chance at some “normalcy.”
We all worry about how our kids will handle the changes at school, and if they can/will be able to comply with all the new “rules.” And, there is plenty to suggest they won’t.
But, as my own kids have shown me, children are often more capable of much more than we think.As many of us prepare to send our kids back to the classroom, anxious about their safety, I offer up a bit of hope and encouragement that they will be OK.
Here we are, many of us in the middle of Spring Break, heading into one, or just getting ready to enjoy a long weekend with our families. Many of us are eagerly awaiting to get our kids back in school and back to the routine. I for one, have a child who needs the steady structure of school, and actually, for the most part, is happy to be there. For others however, school can be a source of dread and anxiety.
You might struggle every day just to get your child out of bed. You beg and plead, hoping for a day when they happily get on the bus.
You might be dealing with a newly diagnosed learning challenge and an I.E.P. (individualized education plan). Your mind is a tangle of questions, worries, and wondering what this all means.
You might spend so much time with the principal, guidance counselor and other specialist that you feel you know them better than your own family. You might secretly envy other parents whose children are never cited for disciplinary problems, for being a distraction or for being unfit for the classroom. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: This post was written in collaboration with PurpleTrail.com. All views expressed are my own. Images for this story were provided by PurpleTrail.com.
As I sit here writing this on a chilly, New York, winter morning, it’s hard to imagine the warmer weather, and what those sunnier days bring: the end of the school year, and, for many students, graduation.
When I was a high school senior, many, many years ago, I eagerly awaited my graduation day, excited to see what adventures lay ahead of me in college and beyond. Four years later, that same feeling, albeit with a bit more nerves about heading into the “real world,” was with me as I journeyed toward the end of my higher education.
I had the self-centered focus of youth, and wasn’t able to fully understand how important my education was to my parents. Even as a young adult, without kids, I didn’t understand the big fuss families made over graduation. Now, that I have children of my own, I get the joy families feel when seeing their children walk across the stage, collecting their diplomas, signifying many years of diligent work and determination.
Graduation is a huge accomplishment, and whether they are headed off to college or Kindergarten, PurpleTrail.com has a wide variety of gifts and invitations to mark the occasion. Continue reading →
I was an anxious newly minted mom of a school-age child, one year ago, and like most parents preparing their kid for kindergarten, I worried about my son making new friends, handling the school work and whether he would eat the lunches I made. Having never sent my child to daycare or preschool, I was thrusting him into a whole new world. And, all of this was happening when he was only four years old.
My eldest was born in November 2012, which fell about a month behind the New York State cut-off for entering kindergarten in 2017. I knew he would likely be the youngest child in his class, and how many parents in my place would have held him back. I had every intention of sending my son to school, but the voices of concern both in my head, and from without, filled me with a lot of doubt. I wondered if I was making the right choice, especially since conventional wisdom is to red-shirt children. Continue reading →
My eldest was in camp for most of the day, for the first half of the summer, meaning he continued his early bedtime/early wake-up routine he was used to during the school year. When his month at camp ended, we took a more laid-back approach to bedtime, and let him stay up a bit later than normal.
Summer is coming to an end, and soon will my relatively lax rules regarding bedtime. My son will be starting first grade in a few short weeks, and the demands and rigors of school require a healthy sleep routine.
People have asked me how well my kids sleep since they were born. The answer has never been great, and we have a lot to work on as a family. My eldest is an especially restless sleeper, while my youngest sometimes gets random bursts of energy in the middle of the night. One thing we are fairly decent at, however is getting our kids to bed early. Continue reading →
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