It is hard to believe, but September has skipped in as we have begun school, and this month signals that autumn is on the way. Classroom decorations depict seasonal delights of apples and colorful autumn leaves and trees. Even though it is still warm, we look forward to cooler days as autumn is just around the corner.
This week of Sept. 1 to 7 is National Waffle Week, which children of all ages love to celebrate with all kinds of delicious toppings. This is so timely because September is recognized as Better Breakfast Month. This originated during World War I for United States citizens to eat a better breakfast. It continued to be emphasized during World War II. The Cereal Institute promoted “Better Breakfast Month” in September of 1951.
I have observed firsthand how children benefit in classroom performance when they have had a good breakfast. A good breakfast provides energy for our children’s bodies and not only do they perform better but they behave better.
Some of my favorite early morning time with my students is to listen to what they have had for breakfast. They are so proud that they have eaten breakfast, and they are encouraged for the day with this early morning boost. Include your children in what they enjoy eating for breakfast. Guide them to choose breakfast foods that include all the major food groups of protein, carbohydrates, dairy and fat. The first meal of the day is a way of teaching good nutrition to our children.
September is also recognized as National Children’s Good Manners Month. It is so timely to teach children good manners early in their lives. The best role models are parents, family members and teachers. The expression says, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Children observe us displaying good manners then we can direct them to practice good manners such as saying “please” and “thank you” when provided a snack or a meal; holding the door for others in order to help them; greeting other people with a “hello” and smile; or apologizing and saying are sorry when they have done something wrong to hurt others. It melts this teacher’s heart when my young students show good manners toward their teacher, whether it is by helping me to pick up papers when I have dropped them all over the floor; extending out their little hands to help their teacher get out of a chair; helping me in walking down steps; or helping the teacher up when I have accidentally tripped. My most embarrassing classroom moment was in first grade as I was going around the room to grade weekly spelling tests. I fell over with legs and high heels going straight up over my head. Needless to say, I was stunned. But as I looked up with an embarrassed red face, 22 little hands were extended down to their teacher to help her up. After I got my composure, the students and I had a good old laugh and I thanked every one of them from the bottom of my heart for helping their teacher.
Also September is recognized as “Baby Safety Month.” This is a good time to assess the safety of your child for “child-proofing” your home, nutrition safety, sleep safety, car seat safety, outside safety, etc. Checking in with your child’s doctors as well as early childhood specialists is beneficial to making sure your infant stays safe.
“National Read A Book Day” will be celebrated and observed on Sept. 6. Parents, children and grandparents can make this a special day by sharing a book with others. Books are wonderful in improving language skills, educating and family entertainment.
Labor Day is this upcoming Monday, Sept. 7. I remember that we didn’t start the school year until after Labor Day when I was a child. I really looked forward to Labor Day, but I didn’t know why we celebrated Labor Day. This is a perfect time to emphasize to your young children what community helpers do as we approach this day off for many of us. Emphasize to them this holiday makes our workers feel special as we celebrate their achievements. Talk to them about the jobs of the police, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, teachers, utility workers, mail carriers, grocery workers and the list goes on and on.
Circle on your calendar Sept. 13, “National Grandparents Day.” Parents, whether your child is in the classroom or at home, this day offers many opportunities for children to show appreciation for their grandparents. Grandparents could be a biological grandparent, a foster child grandparent, a god grandparent or a person in the community who reaches out to your child like a grandparent. When many of our families have had to separate the grandchildren from grandparents, spending time making cards, crafts or other art work provides a language experience lesson as well as an art lesson as you and your child are showing love to their grandparents.