The Holy See’s children’s hospital has compiled a list of 10 tips for parents whose sons and daughters are starting a new academic year. The list was shared on September 11, 2023, as many students across the world are zipping up their bags and heading back to their desks, after a long summer vacation. (While those in the United States are well settled into the school year, in Italy and other European countries, students are just now headed back.)
The Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital, located on the Janiculum, a hill in Rome right next to the Vatican, is the largest pediatric clinic and research center in Europe. It is considered one of the best hospitals for children in the world.
Here are their top tips!
1Let’s prepare his/her backpack together
The first tip for parents is to prepare their child’s backpack together with the child. The backpack should be “light, resistant and well-organized, with heavier books placed near the child’s back,” the Hospital explains. Additionally the child should wear both straps in a way that is “comfortable and safe.”
2Encourage good posture
Parents should “explain to children how to sit up straight, leaning against the backrest, with their arms on the desk.” This will promote “concentration and comfort during lessons.”
3Take a walk to school
Being active is very important, so parents should encourage their children to partake in “enjoyable activities, such as walking to school or playing outside, to keep the mind and body active.”
4Good nutrition to stay focused
The main meals should be balanced with healthy snacks to ensure that the children receive the right amount of calories for their age group, the Hospital explains. “An adequate snack should provide 5%-10% of daily calories, thus ranging — depending on age — between 80-100 calories for a 6-year-old and 180-200 calories for a teenager,” the Hospital says.
5Have time to play and to study
The Hospital encourages parents to establish “a fixed time for homework” while also allocating moments for “rest, study, and sports activities, for a balanced routine.”
6Be interested in your child’s school day
“Show interest in the school day by asking not only about lessons but also about friendships and shared experiences,” the Hospital suggests. This can help create a “familial dialogue.”
7Respect each child’s pace
The Hospital encourages parents to notice difficulties “without being alarmed,” as children may react differently to learning. “Respect the child’s pace of learning, especially in reading and writing,” the Hospital says.
8Be a support without adding stress
“Let’s support children in taking care of their commitments without overdoing it,” the Hospital says. Learning should be “a rewarding experience, not a stressful one.”
9Respect each child’s autonomy
“Offer support and dialogue without invading your child’s privacy. Respect their autonomy and social image,” the Hospital emphasizes.
10Working together for growth
Lastly, the Hospital calls for communicating to children that their “parents and teachers work together to understand and overcome difficulties and create a supportive environment.”