Word of Mind, Word of Mouth

How to smooth the transition from summer to school

Special to The CambrianAugust 22, 2013 

Zachary Brooke and Tyler Bogdanoff get a taste of locker life on their first day of 6th grade at Santa Lucia Middle School in August 2004.

DIANNE BROOKE

As the summer months wane and the call of the school bell threatens (Aug. 28 is opening day), I process all the different moods I’ve encountered around the subject. Ranging from, “It can’t come soon enough,” to “Oh, I’m bummed already.” This from the adults I’ve spoken with. Kids’ opinions are what one would expect regarding the end of free time.

Because we don’t have cable television, Love of My Life and I have not been subjected to the torrent of back-to-school ads, “All the junk you never knew you had to have.” Isn’t that why they call it AD nauseum? And to walk into a box store right now is so insulting to the senses with its toxic vinyl fumes and shocking pink and patterned little girl clothes.

OK, got me there. I wish I could fit into those wild little clothes.

But, I thought I’d look up “Holistic Approaches to Back to School” and here are some ideas I myself employed as well as others: http://holisticmomsnational.blogspot.com/2012/08/green-back-to-school-holisticmoms.html.

First, regarding aforementioned school gear, check out www.emagazine.com/daily-news-archive/school-supplies-pose-toxic-threat-to-students. Please, please, PLEASE be aware of the PVC content in products such as lunch boxes, backpacks, binders and more. This substance may lead to developmental disorders, respiratory issues, etc. Share this important issue with parents you know!

And then, there is just-getting-into-the-mindset …

  • Be mindful of your own emotions — level of stress, how you transition, cope.
  • Break tasks such as homework, projects and sports into small and reasonable portions and, KEEP EXPECTATIONS REASONABLE! We tend to expect an awful lot from these little people. They are not adults yet — don’t overwhelm them!
  • Sleep is critical. Make sure they get enough.
  • At least as important as sleep is WHAT THEY EAT. Amount is not the issue, it is the nutritional density that matters. Bags of chips and cookies are lunch bag stuffers but not the healthiest options. Here’s a fun site: www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/back_to_school_lunch_for_kids
  • Teach your child how to breathe, be mindful, be kind. These may be the most important tools you can give your child.
  • Figure out the best routine FOR YOUR CHILD: make lunch and set out clothes the night before; snack and run around 20 minutes after school and THEN homework … ask for their input!
    • And, finally, part of the anxiety of school is the expectations we put on our kids but also the expectations they put on themselves. Finding allies, whether teachers or aides, and at least one good friend are SO important. This site — www.greenchildmagazine.com/help-your-child-make-friends/ — has what I thought was wonderful information — good not only for kids but adults, too!

      Remember, lead by example in your behavior toward others, keep expectations reasonable, be as involved as you possibly can in their schoolwork and activities, don’t be afraid to talk to school personnel and most importantly, LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD!

      Bon voyage!

      Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at ladytiedi@gmail.com, or visit her website at www.ladytiedi.com.

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