Tag Archives: School

Homework Tips: Parents, Make 2011-2012 a Successful School Year


By Andrea Freygang

Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework.

  • Avoid having your child do homework with the television on or in places with other distractions, such as people coming and going.
  • Make sure the materials your child needs, such as paper, pencils and a dictionary, are available.
  • Ask your child if special materials will be needed for some projects and get them in advance.
  • Help your child with time management.
  • Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Don’t let your child leave homework until just before bedtime. Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if the project involves getting together with classmates.
  • Be positive about homework.
  • Tell your child how important school is. The attitude you express about homework will be the attitude your child acquires.
  • When your child does homework, you do homework.
  • Show your child that the skills they are learning are related to things you do as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too. If your child is doing math, balance your checkbook.
  • When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers.
  • Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her.
  • When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it.
  • Cooperate with the teacher. It shows your child that the school and home are a team. Follow the directions given by the teacher.
  • If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away.
  • Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
  • Stay informed.
  • Talk with your child’s teacher. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child’s class rules are.
  • Help your child figure out what is hard homework and what is easy homework.
  • Have your child do the hard work first. This will mean he will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.
  • Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration.
  • Let your child take a short break if she is having trouble keeping her mind on an assignment.
  • Reward progress in homework.
  • If your child has been successful in homework completion and is working hard, celebrate that success with a special event (e.g., pizza, a walk, a trip to the park) to reinforce the positive effort.

Make this year the best school year ever!

Your Kids: Packing a Lunch They’ll Want to Eat


By Joseph Yacino

Believe it or not, it is almost that time again.  Where did the time go?  It is not only the kids that are thinking that.  Is it just me, or were summer vacations longer when I was a child? I remember when summer school vacation was from June until just after Labor Day in September. That was when you could almost hear the collective sigh of relief from parents on the first day of school.

When school begins parents have to make the choice of whether or not their children will participate in the lunch program or will “brown bag” it. While many busy parents feel it is more convenient to have the lunches purchased at school, more and more are choosing to pack a nutritious lunch for their children.

Many administrators feel that school lunches offer the best alternative for providing the nutrition kids need.  Our school meals are overseen by well qualified health and dietary professionals.  Here in Broward, more and more meals are being made “the old fashioned way”, from scratch.  They try to take into consideration food allergies and dietary restrictions, but it may give you more peace of mind if you know exactly what is in the food your children are eating. Buying is not an option for everyone; not all allergies can be addressed.

The best way to make sure your kids will want to eat what is packed is to get them involved. Have them decide what they want to eat. Eventually with a little guidance they will be able to pack their own healthy lunch. Here are some simple rules you and your kids should follow.  Pack a main dish, a side dish, a fruit, a small sweet and a drink. No exceptions.

Make extra portions of favorite meals and freeze lunch size portions or have leftovers from last night’s meals.  If the school has a microwave that students can use, this can be easy. If they like soup, heat it up and put it  in thermoses.  This works for pasta too.

There is nothing wrong with packing sandwiches, fruit snacks, pretzels, crackers, applesauce, fresh fruit and a variety of other healthy/nutritious prepackaged foods.

Food safety is important. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Insulated lunch boxes and bags are a great way to achieve this. Include an ice packet for cold foods like salads and  sandwiches. Trade the ice pack and freeze juice boxes or yogurts. By the time the kids eat lunch, said items will thaw enough to eat and drink. Keep cold items in the refrigerator until right before packing them.

If freezing items is not an option, go the safe route and pack things that do not need to be refrigerated such as peanut butter and jelly, fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain, low sodium crackers or pretzels. Milk can be bought at school. Our schools offer low fat or no fat milk.

Keep the food containers and food clean. Wash fruits and vegetables. Wash out the lunch boxes daily. Pack a moist towelette to use before or after they eat.

Remember to start the day out right.  We all need to eat breakfast to fuel us up, jump start our metabolism, and keep us going until lunch time. Kids and adults alike are more productive, and have more energy when starting the day out with a nutritious breakfast and healthy lunch.