Preparing For School Year More Than Just Clothes, Cell Phones

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The first day of school is just around the corner for K-12 students.

School starts for Payson students on Aug. 8 and it marks the big day when all those sleepy-eyed devotees of late summer mornings spent in bed will have to adjust their schedules to accommodate that pesky ritual known as school.

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Darlene Daniels, left, and Joanne Woolford, rearrange and restock one of the storage sheds at Frontier Elementary. Daniels is a kindergarten teacher and Woolford is the head maintenance person at the school.

Summer is traditionally a time to put aside the stress and anxiety of school; it is a time for younger kids to play games like hide-and-seek, tag, dodgeball and myriad others, and older ones to further go through the angst of puberty and growing up a little bit more.

While most parents see changes in daily schedules and rituals as far as work when back-to-school time rolls along, the transition from summer to school schedules is for the most part taken in stride by parents and older kids.

Youngsters lucky enough to have spent their summers in leisurely activities may find rescheduling their lives around classes and school requirements more of a task than they had expected.

Parents will likely suffer equally alongside their children in the struggle to become re-acquainted with academic schedules and issues.

While kids returning to school often focus on getting a new wardrobe and the latest cell phone, parents and caregivers must address important issues, like health and making sure their kids have the tools they need to get good grades.

Judy Neese, guidance secretary at Payson High School, provided the Roundup with some tips from onstartinghighschool. com to help students and parents make the transition.

One of the most important tips is communication between parents, students and the school.

They suggest parents practice prioritizing tasks and assignments at home and at school with their children to help them decide what needs to be done when.

The Fraser Child and Family Center also offers a tip sheet to help make the transition a little smoother.

One of the tips is to sit down and talk to younger children early about starting or going back to school, and the changes, which will be expected of them.

Especially for younger children who may be attending school for the first time in their lives, separation from a parent who they are used to being with daily can be very traumatic.

Talk to them about being away from each other and how they will have opportunities to meet new friends and try new things.

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Lydia Cademartori, kindergarten teacher at Frontier Elementary, gives an old wall new life and a new color, as she readies her classroom for her new charges.

Speak positively about the day and what they can expect. Showing children confidence will help them to be more confident and at ease in their new classroom surroundings.

The tip sheet suggests finding a comfortable goodbye ritual and using it daily, as well as keeping regular schedules as much as possible in all aspects of going back to school, like bedtimes, meals, doing homework and dropping kids off and picking them up are of tremendous value in making the switch easier for both kids and parents.

Consistency and doing things in the same order each time helps young children build confidence.

Will Dunman, principal of Payson Elementary School, said it is equally important for parents to adjust their work and home schedules for the new school year.

Dunman said that both parents and kids need to start making bedtimes earlier, as well as waking times, to adjust their schedules to accommodate going back to school.

"Parents also get into their own work schedule for the two months that their children are out of school.

"The transition back to school will be easier for everyone if they all get into their new daily routines at the same time," Dunman said.

Dunman said keeping daily routines and schedules throughout the school year, not just for back-to-school, can help a student be more successful.

Everyone the Roundup spoke with recommended getting a good night's rest and eating a well-balanced breakfast, as well as eating healthy throughout the day as another important factor in student success.

It is also important to have children's eyes examined before returning to classes.

Undetected vision problems can result in learning issues and long-term vision problems.

Immunizations are also important to protect children's health and are required by law in Arizona.

Arizona requires a record of current immunizations, as well as a child's immunization history, before they can be admitted to school.

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