Talk to your kids about starting school
P & I Coordinator Parenting Resource Center
Fall is certainly in the air and I hope everyone enjoyed that last hurrah before school began this past week.
Back to school can trigger different responses in different people. Parents sometimes experience relief that their children will now have structure back in their daily routines. Students may feel excitement to see their friends again on a regular basis. However, some may feel anxiety about going back to school.
I was talking with a coalition member the other day and he shared that to this day he gets a knot in his stomach this time of year. He attributes that feeling with the changes that occur between the freedom of summer vacation and the structure of the classroom setting.
Back to school is a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to have a conversation with their young students about how they feel about beginning a new school year. After all, attending school on a regular basis is important step in the development of our young people.
Let’s go a step further on the importance of attendance at school. You may have heard of the terms risk and protective factors. Simply put, risk factors are behaviors and actions that make you vulnerable whereas protective factors help build defensive mechanisms. A report from the State of Massachusetts listed regular school attendance as a protective factor in reducing substance abuse. The report continued by listing positive attitudes towards school and bonding at school also help build substance free students.
Also in the report, lack of commitment to school was listed as a risk factor.
September is attendance awareness month. Our collaborators with Austin Aspires are organizing an effort to raise awareness about the importance of attending school. For now, here are a few tips from attendanceworks.org about how you can encourage strong attendance at school. First, set a regular bed time as well as a morning routine, next, lay out clothes and backpacks the night before. Lastly, don’t let your child stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind that a stomach and headache can be a sign of anxiety.
Parents can seek advice about ways to help ease that anxiety by talking with teachers, school counselors or even other parents.
So by just getting your student to school is a simple way you can help your student do better in school and help reduce substance abuse in our community.
Bill Spitzer is the Planning and Implementation (P & I) Coordinator working closely with APAC (Austin Positive Action Coalition). APAC and Bill will be working with our schools and community as part of a 5-year grant focusing on Positive Community Norms. Feel free to contact him at the Austin High School 507.460.1800 ext. 0361 or via e-mail email@example.com. This grant is made possible by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, ADAD and hosted locally by the PRC. To learn more about the Parenting Resource, visit their website at www.familiesandcommunities.org