Back To School Tips
Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.

Our precious summer months have whizzed by, and now it is time for "Back to school" preparations, not only for students and teachers - but for parents as well.

Those three, simple words "back to school" may trigger excitement in some parents and dread in others.

Either way "Back to school" means that our educational system is on go and parents must be on board. "Back to school" may be regarded as time for our children's horizons to continue unfolding and steadily progressing forward as our children pursue academic excellence.

Education is a work toward empowering our children to maintain our democracy, to speak freely, to write and to understand their rights; and their freedom to compete with anyone and everyone unfettered by illiteracy.

While our school system is doing their part we need parents to do their part.

Parents you can help make these educational times better.

So, these tips are for our parents - particularly those who have a child or children in elementary school, middle school.

I believe that with a little patience and planning parents can help make this one of the best school years ever. So, here are some tips I think will be helpful:

(1) Be sure your child or children know their home phone number (including area code). Be sure he or she knows their address, your work number, and the number of another trusted adult. Also important is that they know how to use 9- 1-1 for emergencies.

Make sure your child or children has enough change to make a phone call or give them a telephone calling card (remember if you give them a calling card be sure to show how to use it).

(2) Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop for your child. Choose the most direct away with the fewest street crossings and use intersections with crossing guards. Test the route with your child. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields, and other places where there aren't many people around.

(3) Teach your child or children -- whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school -- to obey all traffic signals, signs, traffic officers, and safety patrols. Remind them to be extra careful in rainy, foggy, weather.

(4) If they must walk from school make sure they walk to and from school with someone they know --a friend, a neighbor, a brother, or a sister.

(5) If you car pool, drop off and pick up you child or children as close to school as possible, and don't leave until they have entered the schoolyard or school building.

(6) Teach your child or children never to talk to strangers, and to never accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you, your child, or your children do not know well or do not trust.

(7) Get to know your child's or children's teachers, principal coaches and other instructors.

(8) Encourage good study habits by reading aloud to your child or children and by having them read aloud to you. Also check your child or children's homework.

(9) Find out who your child's or children's friends are, and where possible get to know their parents.

Something else you need to consider - if your child or children will be home alone for a few hours after school: Set up rules for locking doors and windows, and answering the door or telephone. Make sure he or she checks in with you or a neighbor immediately after school.

(10) Also important is that you take time to listen carefully to your child's or children's fears and feelings about people or places that scare them or make them feel uneasy. Tell them to trust their instincts. Take complaints about bullies and other concerns seriously.

(11) Always reward your child's or children's positive effort, attitude and good grades. All of this is to say guiding your child or children is an important step towards ensuring your son or daughter's future safety. Children who understand the reasons for safety precautions and feel rusted to make judgments concerning their own safety are self-assured, feel that they can turn to parents at any time, and are better protected.

Child protection consists chiefly of raising children with the resilience skills and values to feel comfortable doing what is right, refusing peers or adults who press for participation in questionable or illegal acts, and creating a supportive neighborhood and community environment. Supporting your child or children is not the main thing it is the only thing.

Let's have a great school year together.

Have a blessed day!

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail