Dear Parents,

The first week of school is barely a week away.

As you prepare your child for a great school year by doing all the right things, like getting school supplies and getting them back on a school schedule, I have a few things I think you need to say to your kids.

This advice comes to you from my heart, as a past teacher, and mother of five.

When we send our children off to the bus or into the school with a hug and a smile we can't simply tell our children "be a leader, be kind, help others" and expect them to follow through.

We can't assume our children naturally know what these words and phrases mean.

Well before that moment, we have to teach them what it means to do and be these things out in the real world.

After all, most of us as adults still struggle to do and be all of those things!

What does it mean to be a leader?

A leader listens to the teacher and sets a good example for other students by not only doing what is asked of them but by going above and beyond.

A leader makes sure that even when no one is watching they are making the right choices.

What does it mean to be kind?

Treat everyone you meet with respect.

If someone wants to play with you find a way to include them. Change the game your playing, take turns, or let them know something you will do with them when you are done.

You have a right to say no to others, but do so in a way that is respectful to them.

NOTE: You need to practice this with your kids. Play pretend and have them act out different scenarios. Give them the words they may need to use, and help them become comfortable saying no. Include tips about making eye contact and body posture (stand tall).

What does it mean to help others?

Helping others means, when you see someone struggling, you stop what you are doing and offer them help.

This may mean something as simple as opening a door for a teacher, helping a friend with their work, or it could involve a lot more.

Look around and notice the faces of your school. If you see someone looking lonely or sad talk to them.

If you see someone being bullied, how can you help?

Can you step in and stop it? Should you immediately get an adult to help? Can you talk to them afterward and give them the strength to get help? Can you walk with them to their next class?

If YOU are being bullied what should you do?

Form a step by a step action plan, and encourage your children to talk to you about both the good and bad about each day. Listen, and don't ignore their fears and concerns.

We cannot talk enough about this with our children.

But, we must do more than talk.

We need to set an example with our own words and actions, at home, at work, in our community, and online.

Have a great school year,

XOXOXO Praire Wife

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