Antioch School Board Candidate Offers Advice to Parents

Dear Editor:

This is an open letter to parents of school children in Antioch.

School will begin on August 15 and August 22 or after Labor Day and the summer vacation will come to a semi-official end. Students will experience some difficulty adjusting to school and will have different responses depending on their age. Elementary school students will be happy to begin school because they are in the exploratory stage of their lives and they are excited to go to school and participate and hang out with their friends. Middle school students are at the beginning of their independence and will not be so thrilled to return to school as they will have to be reminded about the rules all over again. High school students will vary on their excitement to return to school based on the type of summer that they had working, hanging out with friends, traveling with friends and relatives, or just hanging around the house enjoying their free time. Of course, for those who will return to school as “seniors”, they will be excited to begin the year as it holds much fun and promise.

Here are some tips to follow to help your child adjust to the school schedule. Approximately 1 week to 3 days before school, parents should begin reminding their students that their schedule at home will change. Establishing a regular family routine will make it easy on the entire family as well as ease the stress on the daily routine of work and school. Here are my recommendations:

Parents should think about what they need at home for their sanity (smile) and be clear about rules and expectations before talking to their children about the back to school routine. Once this is determined, parents can have open discussions at the dinner table regarding the routine and ask their children for their input.

School night rules should be discussed approximately 1.5 weeks before school or a week after school begins, as children will have to accept the idea that they are going to lose some of the freedom that they had during the summer. This means no late night TV watching, the expected schedule for completing homework, and any other household routine that the parent is expecting from the child.

Students should begin going to bed around the time they would have to go to bed on a school night. No more late nights for elementary and middle school students.

High school students should be reminded about school, and given the chance to correct their own bedtime schedule before parents step in and do it. This will give them a chance to embrace their independence in a responsible manner.

Parents should talk to their children about expected behavior in school during the day as it relates to mom or dads availability (or not) due to working full time.

Parents should begin updating all emergency contacts and placing them in an accessible place in the home. Parents should discuss if their child will have a cell phone if the child is in elementary or middle school and should discuss the purpose of the cell phone (.i.e. emergency use only). Safety rules and expectations should also be discussed especially if the child will walk, skate, ride their bike, ride with a friend etc. to school. If the child will walk to school, parents can begin practicing the walk 2

with their child so the expected route will be familiar to the child. I recommend that children not walk to school unless an adult can be with the child. If the parents cannot walk them, perhaps, a grandparent or a retired neighbor, another stay at home parent, etc. could walk them to school.

Once school begin, if there is a routine in place, it can be changed to consider “quality time” in the evening as well as the time parents will set aside to help the student with homework or any school concerns the student might have.

Please remember that these are my recommendations and I recognize that as a family there may already be a regular routine in place. Children adjust better to returning to school when parents explain their expectations and then follow the expectations with consistency. Feel free to contact me about this article at

Debra Vinson

Candidate for Antioch School Board Trustee

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