Around St. Helena for Dec. 4, 2014 _lowres

Stephanie Warren

Parents have a lot on their plate: mortgage payments, health care, caring for elderly parents, raising kids, just to name a few. As the new school year approaches, they face additional stresses — paying for back-to-school supplies, clothes and possibly tuition.

Many parents may be worried about their children starting a new school, changing school districts, facing a more rigorous academic year or dealing with difficult social situations.

Often the fear of the unknown, such as classmates, teachers or a new school building, is the most stressful for family members, whether it’s the children hopping on the school bus or their parents who have to wave goodbye.

Fortunately, children are extremely capable of coping with change and parents can help them in the process by providing a setting that fosters resilience and encourages them to share and express their feelings about returning to school.

Here are a few back-to-school tips:

Practice the first day of school routine: Getting into a sleep routine before the first week of school will aide in easing the shock of waking up early. Organizing things at home such as a backpack, binders, a lunchbox or cafeteria money will help make the first morning go smoothly.

Get to know your neighbors: If your child is starting a new school, walk around your block and get to know the neighborhood children. Try and set up a play date or, for an older child, find out where neighborhood kids might go to safely hang out, like the community pool, recreation center or park.

Talk to your child: Asking your children about their fears or worries about going back to school will help them share their burden. Inquire as to what they liked about their previous school or grade and see how those positives can be incorporated into their new experience.

Empathize with your children: Change can be difficult, but also exciting. Let your children know that you are aware of what they’re going through and that you will be there to help them in the process. Nerves are normal, but highlight that not everything that is different is necessarily bad. It is important to encourage your children to face their fears instead of falling into the trap of encouraging avoidance.

Teacher Meet and Greet

St. Helena Arts and Technology Academy will have a “Meet and Greet the Teacher” from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday at the school. Parents and guardians can tour the school and meet the teachers.

Call (225) 222-4349.

Gospel Explosion

The Apostolic Assembly of Christ Temple, 48123 La. 16, Pine Grove, is hosting Gospel Explosion 2015 at 7 p.m. July 31 at the church. The event will feature Lee Williams & the Spiritual QC’s and other artists including Southern Wonders, Da Vocalairs, Pastor Douglas Noel & Friends and The Lighthouse Singers.

For ticket information call Barbara Dokes at (225) 324-5768.

Womack Family Day

Womack Family Day will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 9, at Venable Chapel AME Church, 185 Venable Chapel Road, Greensburg. All Womack descendants, relatives and friends are invited to the home church for an afternoon of prayer, worshiping, preaching and feasting.

The guest minister will be the Rev. Lee Allen Pounds, pastor at St. Helena Missionary Baptist Church in Greensburg.

Call Cynthia Womack Torrence (985) 517-6789 or Myrtis Womack Johnson at home (225) 357-4549 or cell (225)-362-9015.

Contact Stephanie Warren by phone at (985) 517-4869 or email swarren@theadvocate.com.