The beginning of the school year is a stressful time for students and parents, but it doesn’t have to be.

Already teachers are setting up their classrooms and students in many extracurricular activities have began training. Passing motorists might have noticed marching bands practicing in the morning or football teams beginning their practice before dawn.

Dr. Jennifer Jones, Tyler ISD’s new director of Guidance and Counseling, has tips for parents to help smooth the transition back into the classroom.

“There are several different things they can do to ensure their school year starts off in a positive way,” Jones said. “One main area is to be a partner in their education and learning.”

Jones said beginning routines, getting to know the expectations for the classroom and school year and talking about changes should start now, that way students don’t step on campus without a plan.

“They should try to be positive about it all, it (can be) scary,” she said. "Being involved is a big thing parents can do to make sure their kids are successful.”

Parents can talk to teachers, learn expectations, how to partner with their school and get students acclimated to campus early with Meet the Teacher events.

Tyler ISD will host its Meet the Teacher night for middle schools on Wednesday, Aug. 14 and for elementary school the next night, Aug. 15. Parents can check at each of the campus websites on TylerISD.org. for the times of these gatherings.

Tips from Dr. Jennifer Jones

Healthy Start

Set or reset your child’s sleep schedule at least a week before the first day of school to provide a good night’s sleep. Having adequate sleep refreshes our brains and helps with memory processing and retention of learning. Children need at least 8 hours of sleep for a productive day.

Create a morning routine that includes a set “rise and shine” time and healthy breakfast to start the day. Nutrition and a healthy breakfast is critical for brain power and energy.

Encourage your child to drink plenty of water, reduce foods and beverages high in sugar.

Review the school menu ahead of time to check for allergens and/or lunch choices.

Ensure the campus has your child’s health information including health conditions, allergies and medications. Please make sure to check that medications are refilled and check expiration dates.

Organizing for Success

Organizing the night before helps the morning run smoothly. A few helpful tips include helping your child in:

Preparing clothing to wear for the next day and other clothing and equipment needed for athletics, gym, extra-curricular activities, after school practices, etc.;

Having a set location by the door that you exit in the morning for backpacks and other essential items;

Getting backpacks ready with paperwork for school reviewed and signed, folders, homework, supplies for the day;

Preparing school lunches, the night before;

Checking transportation/bus schedules and locations for pickup;

Creating a calendar of events for both school and family events and review with your child.

Partners in Learning

Parents and guardians are the child’s first teacher, role model and guide their children in all aspects of life. Modeling and setting expectations builds a foundation for life and learning. Tips to assist your child in learning:

Talk with your child about what they have learned at school each day;

Prioritize and organize time for learning at home;

School attendance is critical for learning and each minute of classroom instruction missed adds to a lost opportunity for your child to gain new knowledge. Each minute your child is absent or tardy to school can increase their potential to become behind in learning.

Recognize your child for their hard work through praise and help polish and refine the areas they need to improve.

Review your child’s school work and homework daily ... showing an interest and supporting your child’s learning emphasizes the importance of learning;

Encourage your child to read daily and take time to read with them;

Allow your child to take short breaks when working on homework or studying to reward, give time to relax and eat a healthy snack;

Limit distractions including television time, technology screen time;

Communicate with your child’s teacher regarding their learning expectations, progress and outcomes;

Encourage your child to exercise. Exercise builds energy, muscles, skills and coordination, brain functioning and development, and improves healthy minds and attitudes by relieving stress and anxiety;

Be an advocate for your child’s learning needs.

Tips for the First Day Jitters

Parents and guardians of first-time schoolgoers such as preschoolers may feel anxious about the first days of school for their child. Some helpful tips include:

Visiting the school before the first day with your child to help them become familiar with the campus;

Talk with your child about the excitement of attending school, meeting their teacher and classmates and the learning;

Explain what school is like including routines and schedules.

Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.

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