After an eventful, fun-filled summer, Israeli kids started back to school on August 27th - 5 days earlier than the usual September 1st start date. This, obviously, made many working parents (except for me) happy, as it meant 5 fewer days that they had to scramble to find and pay for child care coverage.
In our house, we now have an 11th grader, 3rd grader and E started in a new gan which, happily, is walking distance from home, unlike the gan he was in for the past 2 years. The first day of gan he walked in like he owned the place and didn't cry at all but on every subsequent morning he has been clingy and cried. It's ok. I know it's a phase and he'll get used to it but it does send me off to work with a not-very-nice feeling in my tummy knowing I've left him there crying.
After the craziness of this morning, I've decided I have to get up a bit earlier at 6 am and get myself ready first otherwise it ain't gonna happen.
Apropo of which, I received by email these tips from the Sara Silber Psychological-Educational Clinic in Raanana for how to get your child organized for school. I thought there were some very good ideas here so I'm passing it along
1) Color code the child's schedule and subject materials with specifically colored covers and stickers. If math is red then all math books, notebooks, and workbooks should either be covered with red book covers or have a big red sticker on them. If there are 4 math items to be taken to school then write the number 4 on each item so that the child knows that when he has to pack up math materials he has to count 4 items . On the child's chart of his schedule of subjects, the subject of math should also be outlined in red so that he knows that he has to pack all the red items.
2) Put in your child's schoolbag 2 differently colored big folders. One will say on it "take home and show parents". The other will say on it "give to teacher". Explain to your child to put in the first envelope all the notes that he has to show parents regarding school trips, money requested, etc. In the second folder he puts completed assignments, and the envelopes containing the signed letters, money, etc that he has to give back to teacher. For kids who do not yet read put a photo of yourselves on the show parents folder to help them differentiate. This will serve other purposes too as the child can look at it if
missing you during the school day.
3) Child should have a big bulletin board in his room for notices he needs to refer to such as birthday party invites, school trips info, etc. You can make vertical divisions with strips of colored paper on the bulletin board to demarcate sections of now, this week,next week,this month, and child adjusts the position of notices with the thumb tacks as time goes by and he sees what he has to attend to now.
4) Teach your child how to make lists and checklists for daily routines and place them in strategic spots. Also, children need to be taught how to manage a diary efficiently and how to organize their belongings. If you yourself are not an organized person it will be difficult for you to teach your children so get someone else to help you with this. Organizational skills improve self-confidence and will help your child succeed in school.
5) Teach your child early on how to wake himself up with his own alarm clock and to get ready on his own with minimum physical assistance. Give lots of reinforcement for being ready on time for
school. Good habits should be instilled early.
6) Morning time is usually very hectic so anything that can be done the day before should be. This includes preparation of sandwich, fruit, and water. Each child should have his personal colored bin in the fridge for his own items. Child can help prepare this himself when all the food is out on the table at dinnertime, just supply the baggies and give some guidance. Also to be prepared the night before are the child's schoolbag, according to the color-coded system outlined above, and the child's clothes, which he can lay out himself. All this should be done before the child is allowed to watch his last television show for the day.
7) Make sure your child gets to bed at a reasonable time for her age and has available a nutritious breakfast. If she is not hungry in the morning then give a fruit drink and healthy snacks to eat on
the way or at school.
8) Be available when your child returns home to see her mood, give emotional support and troubleshoot any difficulties early on. If you are a working mom and are not home when the child returns, then give this needed attention after returning home. Children will not open up as readily on the telephone and you cannot see the child's body language and facial cues so it is best to have your conversations with your child in person than trying to do it from the office by phone. Small problems can become bigger problems if not attended to.