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Rachael Fraley: Six smart things to do to get kids ready for school

As an Ohio State University extension educator focused on youth development, recognizing students’ success in school is so important.

You don’t have to be a teacher to be involved in your child’s education. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to study and teach “Active Parenting: First Five Years” to parents across the county. One of the most important sessions presented was “Six Smart Things Active Parents Can Do To Help Their Child Get Ready for School.”

As many of you are amid sending your kids to school for the first time, I wanted to share these great ideas with you.

First, encourage play. Play with your children, let them play with other children, play fun and play smart.

Next, encourage learning. Beginning with life skills, parents are a child’s first, and often, most important, teacher.

Children dressing themselves, taking turns, controlling tempers, counting, recognizing letters and colors all starts at home.

Third, read and talk with your child. Fourth, it’s also important to monitor and limit screen time. Children 2 – 5 years old should have no more than one hour per day. During the hour, it should be high-quality programming and apps watched or played with you as often as possible.

Social skill building is also key in getting your child ready for school; helping them to identify their own emotions and those of others, managing their emotions and taking time out to calm themselves and using their emotions in a positive way will each help your child think about their feelings and how to check in with themselves and what might need changing.

The sixth smart thing active parents can do is stimulate independence. Learning to do things “all by myself” helps build your child’s sense of courage and self-esteem, which is a big factor in how well they do in school and work.

As parents, one of our biggest tasks is to water our children’s beautiful brains as they develop over the years; do so with encouragement, positive experiences, talks, hugs and play.

These are only short tidbits of Active Parenting advice, but I hope like it was for 100 percent of the active parents involved in the class. You can take this and use information to help yourselves, your children and each of your futures. For more information on classes, such as Active Parenting: First Five Years, please contact me at the OSU Extension Office, at 740-533-4322.

— Rachael Fraley is the OSU Extension Educator for Lawrence County.