By Tina Santiago Rodriguez
It’s that time of the year when the kids go back to school, and whether you’re a mom to a preschooler or to older kids, we’re sure you’ll find at least one of the tips below helpful.
Marilet Anastacio with husband and kids
Set expectations. “Prepare the kids days before by telling them what to expect when school begins, especially if they are starting out in a new school,” says Marilet Anastacio, school counselor and mom of two. “If possible, have a ‘tour’ of the school and let them meet some of the school personnel.
“On the first day of school, nurture independence by letting go of your children as soon as possible. Lingering long after the kids are dropped off sometimes triggers tantrums and heightens their hesitation to go to class independently.”
Tanya Franco Velasco with hubby and kids
Build a routine. Tanya Franco Velasco, preschool teacher, college lecturer, and mom of two, emphasizes the importance of “parents building a good routine for their child.”
“This is crucial especially when school is about to start,” she says. “Start practicing your routine weeks before classes begin. Having a routine sends a message to your child that there are certain rules and procedures that they need to follow whether at school or at home. It teaches self-discipline and trains them to be independent.
“Once you've established a specific routine—which includes the time your child wakes up, attends school, gets home from school, up until he does his school work and goes to sleep—parents should strive to be consistent with it. Get everyone in the family on board and ask them to be supportive of the routine.”
Christine Babao with husband Julius and kids Anya and Nio
Stick to a sleep schedule. This tip is related to the previous one. “Let your kids sleep early a week or at least a few days before regular classes begin so that their bodies will adjust to the correct waking time for school season,” advises producer, host, children's book author and mompreneur Christine Babao.
Julie Fuertes and family
Julie Fuertes, a special education teacher and mom of 3, agrees with Christine.
“The parents and the children should agree to practicing sleeping and waking up early as a dry-run on how their days will be spent when regular classes start,” she adds. “This is beneficial for the children because not only will it start the sleeping and waking up habit but it will also reduce tantrums and reluctance to wake up early due to lack of sleep.”
Come to think of it, this tip is applicable even if your kids have already started school and don’t have a regular bedtime yet!
Jamie Isip-Cumpas and family
Preparation is key. “Prepare everything they will need for school such as covering and labeling their books, altering their uniforms, etc.,” says pediatrician and mom of three Jamie Isip-Cumpas.
Francesca Sarmiento and daughter
You can also bring your kids along when buying some school items so they can get excited about going back to school. “This is a good way to prepare them,” encourages Francesca Sarmiento, family and life educator, lay missionary, and mom of 1.
Refresh their knowledge. “I have been doing this a couple of years now with my kids—giving them short lessons from what they will tackle in their school,” shares Chesca Garcia-Kramer, wife, mother of three and host. “I also refresh them again with what they learned from last school year and what their new lessons will be.
“We browse through their new textbooks together. That way, they have a feel of them already, and adjustment won't be so challenging for them. I also get them excited by telling them the wonderful things they will learn and do in school. I give at least two weeks for that and an hour or less a day for short lessons.”
Anna Esperanza and son
Encourage openness. When your child goes back to school, he or she will probably have lots to tell you about his or her first day. “Listen to your child’s stories without interruption,” advises Anna Esperanza, pastoral counselor, organizational development practitioner and mom of one.
“What he shares with you is what is important to him, no matter how silly you think it is. It’s your simple way of saying you value his world and his perspective. It’s how you give him a sense of acceptance. This simple act, consistently done, can boost his self-worth."
Let them learn from their limitations. The first day, week or even month of school may also find your child struggling with certain tasks that he or she might find difficult. He or she may even feel like giving up at times. If this describes your child, Anna has some advice for you.
“Challenge your child’s negative thinking and feelings; it’s easier to focus on what he can’t do,” she says. “Instead, teach him to accept his limitations and, at his own pace, challenge what he can do about it. Don't push. Let him see that in every state, there is something good. It is how you use what you learned from it that matters.”
Daisy Joy Torina and daughter
Don’t forget yourself. This is one tip not many of us may even think of doing, but is important nonetheless.
“Prepare yourself,” advises part-time doctor and full-time mom Daisy Joy Torina. “The task of packing snacks and lunch, pressing uniforms, shining shoes, helping your child do homework, reviewing for exams, bringing your child to and from school five days a week, nine months a year can be very tiring. Relax when you can and pray to the Lord for strength.”
Even if your child has already started school, we hope these moms’ tips have been helpful to you somehow. After all, any words of wisdom are welcome when it comes to raising kids, right?
Now, it’s YOUR turn! What back-to-school tips do you have to share with us? Just leave a comment below!
About the author:
Tina Santiago Rodriguez is a working mom to four children, and is the editor of an award-winning inspirational magazine for kids. She also creates content for The Parenting Emporium and other family-focused resources.
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