Back to school

Back to school

1st Grade: Advice and tips for how to adjust
September is a time of year which marks a new beginning. For children in 1st Grade, it is the start of the school year - a new beginning which marks their integration into the school community, far from the protection provided by the home. This beginning is, at the same time, exciting and stressful, both for the child and for his parents.

Is he ready to be socialised? To become more disciplined? To leave your side? And how about you? Are you ready to let him go?

It is not easy to move from a carefree life to the new order of school discipline. This is particularly true at the age of six, when the child is relatively grown up and can understand a great deal more of what is happening around him.

When school means tears.
If your child is one of those children who cry and do everything they can to avoid going to school in the morning, the following tips might be helpful:

  • If you don’t work, and are never away from your child, it is not reasonable to expect him to separate from you easily on the first day of school. You can prepare him for school by leaving him for a few hours with a relative or a friend who has children, and making him feel safe when you leave. This will help you to feel confident when you leave your child at school for the first day.
  • Help him to become familiar with the school before he starts going there! Talk to him about it, answer any questions he might have, and always stress the positives that he will gain from his school life.
  • Be there to support him when things go wrong! If he sees you crying and getting angry every time he talks to you about some difficulty he had at school, he will become weak and aggressive. Instead, give him a hug and talk to him about it gently, explaining that it is not the end of the world.
  • Start the day off happily! Get up in a good mood to show him that the rest of the day is going to be great. Talk to him about your own day and what you will do together after school. It would be very good if you could pick him up from school yourself - at least at the beginning.
  • Make sure that you are happy by looking after yourself and doing something you like. In this way, your happiness will rub off on him. Because a happy mother has happy children!

Eating at school
When the bell rings for break, it’s time for a snack! But what should you give your child? If the answer is money to buy something at the canteen, then it might be a good idea to think again.

Research shows that children often choose foods with a low nutritional value from the school canteen. This is because children mainly choose soft drinks and pre-prepared foods which are rich in saturated fats and sugar.

But, to be able to function at its best, the brain needs to be supplied with energy and nutrients from fruits, juices, vegetables and whole grains. However, it is not easy to find these foods in school canteens, and even if they were on sale the children would choose something else.

And because of this, the “work” needs to be done at home. It is important for children to understand that they should eat 5 healthy nutritious meals a day: breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon snack and evening meal.

Some good ideas for breakfast are: a glass of milk made up with a chocolate drink powder which is rich in vitamins and iron, bread with butter and honey or jam or a glass of milk with cereal and fruit or fresh juice. A toasted sandwich or a boiled egg and a slice of bread accompanied by a glass of fresh juice also makes a good breakfast. These will give the child the carbohydrates he needs to do well at school.

Elevenses - strength for school
Children need to eat elevenses every day, as it helps them to keep their metabolisms going without resorting to sweet or fatty foods. At the same time, eating elevenses ensures they do better in class and in sports, as it gives children the energy they need. The best approach is to prepare a nutritious snack at home using your own ingredients such as a piece of cake, cookies, some kind of pie, etc. If this is not possible, your child can go to the canteen and choose a cheese, turkey and tomato or lettuce sandwich, a small yoghurt, a pretzel or a raisin bun, accompanied by fruit juice.

But there are a lot of tempting things on sale at the canteen! And this is why children, parents and teachers need to be educated by nutritionists, in cooperation with pediatricians and health education specialists, so that they are adequately informed about nutrition issues.