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Preparing your child to head back to school

Preparing your child to head back to school


This is the last week that many students have at home before they head back into the school environment. It is the culmination of a long summer break and time for formal learning to continue.

School is where students spend most of their waking hours. It is therefore important to ensure that they are well prepared for school and that the school environment is one that is safe and conducive to learning.

As your child prepare for school, let him or her know that there is a reason for going to school. School should never appear to them as a place where you dump them to get rid of them for you to go to work. It should not be a place of punishment, or fear either. Make it clear to them that they are going to school to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge that they need in life.
It is wise to set an intention or a goal for the school year. This can be a family activity where you discuss with your kids what they intend to achieve as they go back to school. It does not have to be purely academic. It can be something that the child needs to work on. For example, their intention may be to treat everyone in the classroom with kindness or to share with their classmates. These qualities will take them beyond the school environment.

Secondly, teach your child about kindness, empathy and compassion. Let them understand that everyone at school are humans and at times will require the support of teachers or fellow classmates. They should be taught to be kind to others, like offering a pencil to someone who forgot one, or pick up trash that is left in the class.

Thirdly, teach them to listen. Listening is an important skill in learning. When they go to school they will need to focus and listen. Parents have the responsibility to sit with their children and show them the importance of listening and how best they can listen and try to remember what was taught to them. At the end of the day, you can test your children by asking them to explain something that they were taught in school.

Finally, being healthy is important for learning. This is the right time to start cultivating a healthy lifestyle in your child. They should be told what is healthy to eat and how much they can eat. If you prepare their meals, then this should facilitate them eating healthy. If they buy food make sure you know what is in the menu and try to guide them as to what they should buy. Make sure that they are well hydrated and that they are also participating in physical exercise and getting the right amount of rest.

Dr. Rosmond Adams, MD is a medical doctor and a public health specialist with training in bioethics and ethical issues in medicine, the life sciences and research. He is a lecturer of medical ethics.

He is the Head of Health Information, Communicable Disease and Emergency Response at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). He is also a member of the World Health Organization Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs.

(The views expressed here are not written on behalf of CARPHA nor the WHO). You may contact him at