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Aug 28, 2014

Healthy living looks at back to school tips for parents

It’s back to school season! Parents across Belize have been busy getting school books, stationary, uniforms school bags and just about everything the children need for a brand new academic year. While, that’s one hurdle the other is getting the children ready for the transition after the long summer break. Tonight on Healthy Living, we offer some back to school tips to parents to help get their child on the right track for the upcoming school year.

 

Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
Once the school bell rings countrywide in September, and the children are back in school mode, some very familiar challenges may arise for parents. Balancing homework, studying, downtime and rest for children can be very difficult…but not impossible. Professional Counselor Aimee Jex explains that it’s all about consistency.

 

Aimee Jex, Professional Counselor
“The best thing is consistency. Children enjoy consistency they like to have routines and habits. You will notice when you break a routine they get very upset. If you show up late to pick them up; they will not talk to you for an hour. So one of the most important things to remember is consistency. Be there when you say you will. Let them know if something changes. Have habits. Develop Habits. You tell them that they have a bed time at eight and you don’t enforce it. That’s not good for them. In the morning when they have to wake up for eight o clock and you won’t be able to get there in time because they woke up late but it wasn’t “they” who fell asleep late. It was you who didn’t enforce the going to sleep on time.”

 

Having a structured routine will help the child learn to manage his/her time and even more important, they’ll get adequate rest.

 

Aimee Jex

“They need their sleep, you need your sleep but you can do with a little bit less but Children need to sleep especially if you want them to do well in school. They need to sleep they need to eat and all of those things are a part of that routine in the morning. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can have them help you, have them do chores. Take their uniforms out; put their tennis shoes in a place that is accessible. Those are the kind of things that can be done. What is the minimum that you can do in the morning? What are things that can be put in place before you start doing those things?”

 

The idea of children having chores is nothing new. The advice to parents is usually to start early, but to keep the chores age appropriate. Another very valuable life skill that can teach children from early is negotiation – more specifically negotiation with limits.

 

Aimee Jex

“Remember these are children they are people, they’re learning to think to speak and express themselves. Now you have to teach them to express themselves how you would like them to communicate with you. You don’t want to shut them down. You have some ages where they ask a lot of questions. Why? They are allowed because they want to know.  Wehat’s important is that you listen to what they have to say. When you know you’re busy you say “ask two more questions but then I have to move on” negotiate with them but listen to what they have to say. You, as the parent, have to know what the limits are.”

 

In negotiating with children, Jex stresses the need for limits. Provide options to children can help them develop essential decision making skills.

 

Aimee Jex

“Always have options. Never tell your child you have to do this or else. You follow up. You either do this or that. You have your choice: you can wear the red tennis today or the white tennis today. It’s not wear anything you want or you have to wear your white tennis or else. You always want to give them a choice because they are children and you can overwhelm them. There are some kids who are very, very good negotiators and they are the ones who will tell you but you’re not supposed to do this and they try to point out your wrongs and that’s when you have to play the parent card. The parent card is very important. It’s not to be abused, but it’s important to know “ok this is where it stops.”

 

Parents mustn’t forget that amid the routine building, habit formation and negotiation with children. They must always remember to praise them. Celebrate the good rather than highlight the bad.

 

Aimee Jex

“You have to encourage them to do the right thing and that’s how you get them to do the right thing over and over ….just don’t say too much. You don’t have to reprimand them a lot when they do something wrong…make sure they know that.”

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