The First Day
Most teachers kick off the school year by introducing themselves and talking about all the stuff you'll be doing that year. Some teachers give students a chance to tell something about themselves to the rest of the class.
When teachers do the talking on the first day, they often go over classroom rules so you'll know what's allowed and what's not. Pay close attention so you'll know if you need to raise your hand to ask a question and what the rules are about visiting the restroom.
Moving to Middle School?
Sixth grade often signals a move to middle school or junior high, where you'll find lockers and maybe a homeroom. This is just what it sounds like - a classroom you'll go to each morning, kind of like your home in the school. In middle school, you might move from classroom to classroom for each subject. Your teachers know that this is a big change from elementary school and will help you adjust.
Most teachers let you pick your own seat on the first day, but by the second or third morning, they'll have mapped out a seating plan. It's a good idea to write down where your seat is in your notebook so you don't forget.
Feeling Good on Day One
Seeing friends you haven't seen in a while can make the first day a good one. You also can make the day feel special by wearing an outfit you like. Maybe you got a great T-shirt on vacation, or your new sneakers put a spring in your step. If you wear a uniform, you might wear a favorite watch or piece of jewelry to show your personal style.
Whatever you put in your backpack, make sure you pack it the night before. This prevents the morning panic when you can't find your homework or lunch box. Speaking of lunch, that's something else that can help you feel good at school - whether it's the first day or the 100th day. Pack it the night before if you don't like what's on the menu at the cafeteria. Try to include a variety of foods in your packed lunch, especially fruits and vegetables.
The first day of school is your first chance to find your way around a new school, or learn the pathways to new classes in your old school. It's a lot to learn in one day, so don't be surprised if you need a reminder or two.
It might help to write a few notes to yourself, so you'll remember the important stuff, like your locker combination and that lunch starts at 11:43, not 12:10. Before you know it, your fingers will fly as you open your locker and you won't have to check your notes to know what time lunch starts!
A Bad Start?
What if you hate school by the end of day one? Teachers recommend giving things some time to sort themselves out - once you know your way around the building and get adjusted to the new routine, you'll probably feel better. If those feelings don't fade, talk to your mom, dad, teacher, or school counselor.
Here are a few final tips for a fantastic first day:
Get enough sleep.
Eat a healthy breakfast.
Try your best.
Develop good work habits, like writing down your assignments and turning in your homework on time.
Take your time with school work. If you don't understand something, ask the teacher.
Keep a sense of humor. One teacher we know shows his new students a picture of himself graduating high school - a grinning ape in a red graduation cap and gown. This usually makes the kids laugh, and it's a good way to remind them that school is fun.
Top 5 Causes of Missed School
Children in large groups are breeding grounds for the organisms that cause illness. Here is a lineup of the top five infectious illnesses that keep kids home from school and child care.
Colds - Children typically have six to ten colds a year and also tend to have more severe and longer lasting symptoms than do adults. The good news is that you or your child should be feeling better in about a week. If symptoms aren't improving in that time, see your doctor to make sure your child doesn't have a bacterial infection in the lungs, sinuses or ears.
Stomach Flu - The second most common childhood illness is gastroenteritis, more commonly known as the stomach flu. This illness can lead to dehydration. Signs and symptoms of dehydration include: excessive thirst, dry mouth, severe weakness or lethargy, nausea or vomiting.
Ear Infection - Middle ear infections occur most often in babies and children between the ages of 4 months and 5 years. Most children have had at least one ear infection by the time they're 3 years old. It can be difficult to distinguish between ear infections caused by bacteria and those caused by viruses. For most otherwise healthy kids over 6 months of age, watchful waiting is a reasonable choice for suspected ear infections. They often clear up without antibiotics. But this may not be the best option for every child. If your child has recurrent ear infections, hearing loss or other health conditions, your doctor may suggest antibiotics or ear tubes.
Pink Eye - Also know as conjunctivitis, it is an inflammation of the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye and lines the inner surface of the eyelids. When caused by viruses or bacteria, it is highly contagious. Warm or cool compresses may ease your child's discomfort. Signs and symptoms of pink eye include: redness and or itchiness in one or both eyes, blurred vision and sensitivity to light, and tearing.
Sore Throat - Dry scratchiness and painful swallowing are the hallmarks of a sore throat but it is most often a symptom of another illness -- usually a viral infection such as a cold or the flu. Most sore throats usually go away on their own in a few days. Only a small portion of sore throats are the result of strep throat. Strep throat is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, but can affect people of all ages. Fevers above 101°F are common in strep throat, and swallowing can be so painful that your child may have difficulty eating. Antibiotics are required to combat strep throat.
Note: The single most important thing your child can do to prevent illness is to wash his or her hands thoroughly and frequently. Despite your best efforts, your child is going to get sick -- especially during his or her first few years of contact with larger groups of children. But a child's immunity improves with time. School-age children gradually become less prone to common illnesses and recover more quickly from the diseases they do catch.
Children's health and behavior take a nose dive when their sleep habits are out of whack. Adequate sleep will boost your child's energy and enthusiasm. Good-quality sleep also can help your child learn more easily and reduce many behavioral problems.
How Much Is Enough?
Generally, between the ages of 6 and 9, most children need about 10 hours of sleep a night, while preteens need a little over 9 hours. Your child may require more sleep if he or she:
Has a short attention span, or is irritable or restless
Has unusually low energy low energy and activity levels
Is more tearful, anxious, defensive or impatient than usual
Sleep Tips for Your Children
Set a regular time for bed each night and stick to it
Avoid feeding children big meals close to bedtime
Avoid giving anything with caffeine less than six hours before bedtime
Make after-dinner playtime a relaxing time
Establish a calming bedtime routine
Note: Each child is different and has his or her own way of approaching sleep. Some take extra time to fall asleep, while others wake more often during the night. You know your child's personal habits best, so with a little trial and error, you should succeed in finding a routine that suits your family.
Travel to and from School
It's estimated that 24 million students nationwide start their school day with a trip on the school bus. Whether they walk, ride the bus or travel by car, teach your kids these few tips to ensure they get to and from school safely.
Tips for School Bus Riders
Do not play in the street while waiting for the bus
Carry all loose belongings in a bag or backpack and never reach under the school bus to get anything that has rolled or fallen beneath it.
Line up facing the bus, not along side it.
Move immediately onto the sidewalk and out of traffic after getting off the bus.
Wait for a signal from the bus driver before crossing the street and walk at least 10 steps away from the front of the bus so the driver can see you.
Tips for Pedestrians or Bike Riders
Never walk alone -- always travel with a buddy. Try and find a friend, or make a new friend in the neighborhood to walk to school or ride the bus with.
Wear reflective or bright color clothing to increase visibility.
Respect traffic lights and street signs.
Always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.
Avoid loose fitting clothing that could get caught in spokes or pedals.
Tips for Car Drivers and Passengers
Make sure young children are in safety seats at all times, and that the seats have been properly installed.
All children under 13 years should ride in the rear seat of vehicles.
Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You may want to limit the number of teen passengers to prevent driver distraction. Do not allow your teen to drive while eating, drinking, or talking on a cell phone.
Pack light -- a backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student's body weight.
Organize the pack to make use of all compartments and pack heavier items closest to the center of the back.
Choose a pack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles and may increase curvature of the spine.