You don’t need to over-prepare when it comes to going back to school!

We’re hitting the final stretch of the year-end school holidays, and you’re likely to be preparing for the new school year.

You might be buying new uniforms, since junior has outgrown his old ones, wrapping his textbooks, and labelling all his belongings.

It seems like there’s so much to get ready for, but guess what, more often than not, parents over-prepare.

Here are a list of things that your child really doesn’t need when he goes back to school.

1. Fancy school bags
Your young ‘un is definitely going to need a reliable school bag to hold all his belongings. With huge array of options out there, picking the right one can be quite mindboggling.

We say, give those fancy trolley bags a miss. Those bags are heavy to begin with, and it’s hard maneuvering them around in crowded spaces. Plus, since most schools have lockers these days, you probably aren’t “saving” your kiddo’s back that much since he won’t have to carry that much.

What you can do is to pick a lightweight, yet durable backpack. Ensure that it’s worn properly so that the load is evenly distributed. Get one with a waist strap, so that the weight of the books sit on his waist, not his shoulders. Get padded shoulder straps for optimum comfort.

Kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to face behaviour problems, impaired learning and loss of concentration, resulting in poor school performance.

2. Elaborate stationery
Filling your kiddo’s pencil case can be lots of fun – since there’re so many adorable options for pens, pencils, erasers and sharpeners out there.

But it’s best to keep things simple, to prevent him from being distracted by them in class. Instead of a mechanical pencil, let him have three or four sharpened 2B pencils. Skip the glittery gel pens, too – and spare the teachers from having to read glittery ink markings.

3. Late nights
Your little one might have busted his bedtime during the school holidays, but now that school is starting, get him off the right foot by making sure he gets adequate sleep.

A primary-school going child should get at least 9 to 11 hours of sleep at night. According to the National Sleep Foundation in the US, kids who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to face behaviour problems, impaired learning and loss of concentration, resulting in poor school performance. They are also more likely to be moody and have emotional problems, and have health issues like obesity.

4. A hovering parent
Don’t be that parent who keeps trying to take a peek at your munchkin when he’s in class, or even when he’s at the canteen. If you feel uneasy about junior being on his own, try to let go and trust that he’s being well taken care off in school. Know that your child can sense your uneasiness, and this can affect his confidence in the classroom.

Give your child the space to find his independence – he doesn’t need you to remind him to drink water, help him tie his shoe laces, or feed him his lunch. What he needs is for you to give him the best environment to learn from his mistakes and grow.


5. Being too hands-off
At the other end of the spectrum is the hands-off parent. Sure, your child needs to learn to complete his homework at the end of the day, study for tests and exams, but gentle prompting can help remind him that you’re there for him, even when school gets stressful.

Let him know that you’re interested in his school life, too – ask him how his day went and what is something interesting that he’s learnt. Also, make sure you’re up to speed on handing in signed forms, and that you know when the school events are, so he goes to school prepared.

You need to let your child learn from his mistakes, and not rely on you to “rescue him” all the time.

6. You “saving the day”
Junior might freak out the first time he forgets to bring his math homework to school. It doesn’t mean that you need to come swooping in during your lunch hour, to sheepishly knock on his classroom door to pass it to him.

You need to let your child learn from his mistakes, and not rely on you to “rescue him” all the time. It’ll teach him accountability and responsibility.

7. Snacks loaded with salt and sugar
Besides recess, most primary schools now have a little break time where kids are allowed to have snacks brought from home. But choose your child’s snacks wisely – avoid foods that are filled with sugar and salt, such as chips, donuts, candy and chocolates, and go for healthy snacks like dried fruit and nuts, or a whole meal peanut butter sandwich instead.

Too much salt increases the risk of your child getting high blood pressure, stroke and kidney disease in the future, while a high sugar diet increases his risk of tooth decay and obesity.

8. Criticism
While junior is still finding his footing in school, realise that he needs your support, not your negativity. Don’t criticise him too much if he lost a pencil or two, or if he missed the morning school bus. Instead, focus on the little victories – praise him if he gets his homework done on time, and if he makes an effort to pack his bag on his own every night.

9. Overscheduling
Your munchkin might have loved his tennis lesson, taekwondo and swimming classes during the school holidays but now that school has started, make sure that he can cope. It can be extremely exhausting for a young child to have such a packed schedule. Cut back on those extra classes if needed, and make sure he gets his down time.

Photos: iStock

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