It’s the happ- happiest season of all….
Well, I suppose that’s all in your perspective. For most parents, the end of summer means a return to a more predictable routine. No more scrambling for activities designed to keep the kids busy and, in a perfect world, educationally engaged. Time to hand that job back to the professionals - teachers.
But for most students, summer’s wind-down means the end of carefree mornings, free-wheeling days and late nights. Hello school! And hello, too, to homework, pop-quizzes, and PE class. Sometimes it’s a lot for the little ones to take in. We get it.
We’ve done a little poking around and found that there are things that parents can do to make the return to school a little more palatable to kids. Some of these ideas are just common-sense but some may not be so obvious.
Make Sleep A Priority
This makes perfect sense. Sleep deprivation is a real phenomenon and, sadly, very common among tweens and teens. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a recent National Sleep Foundation poll showed that 59% of middle-schoolers and 87% of high-schoolers did not get the recommended 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep nightly. The AAP goes on to say that lack of sleep can lead to very serious consequences including higher rates of depression, automobile accidents, and poor academic performance among other things.
Yikes! Get those kids to bed at a decent time, even if they swear they aren’t the least bit tired. They will thank you in the morning.
Feeding into the sleep deprivation epidemic is the tendency for parents to jam pack their kids’ schedules with sports and other after-school activities. It is so easy to do. After all, we live in a busy world where everyone, including the kids, is always on the go.
To tamp down all the chaos, try limiting each child to just one extracurricular activity per semester or season. For those with big families, this can be a lifesaver and a way to save not only your sanity but also limit your carbon footprint since less chauffeuring means less gas guzzling.
Limit Screen Time
But don’t let the kids fill those extra hours up with mindless video games and cartoons. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a lot to say about screen time as well. They suggest limiting children and teens to less than 2 hours of entertainment media per day, creating screen-free zones in the house, and encouraging reading, outdoor play and other low-tech hobbies. Makes a lot of sense to us!
Of course, not all screen time is created equal. There is a place for high-quality educational media in a child’s life - whether it be phonics games, mobile flashcards, or interactive test-prep. Here at gWhiz, we offer a plethora of options when it comes to innovative, brain stimulating educational software. Our most popular app, gFlash+, has even caught the attention of the New York Times in their recent video review. So rest easy, parents.
Open Up The Lines of Communication
Suppose you’ve done all of the above and your child’s back to school experience is still a bit rocky. Communication is the key. Sit your kids down for a good old heart to heart and try to keep it all in perspective. Make the most of the resources that surround you - your child’s teachers and guidance counselors are on your side. And remember, the great thing about life is that positive change is always right around the corner.
Good luck to all this fall!