Your Child Is Job #1 works to provide parents and caregivers with the information, resources and encouragement they need to raise happy, healthy and successful children.

Sponsored by employers and offered at local work sites, Your Child Is Job #1 allows employers to actively support parents by connecting them with information and tools to encourage their child’s healthy, happy and successful development.  Program topics range from communicating with schools, standardized tests and career exploration to childhood obesity, bullying and Internet safety. The result is a win-win, with the student, parent, employer and community all benefiting from Your Child Is Job #1.

Back to School Basics

The close of summer means it’s time to join new and old friends in the classroom. Whether your child is a precious preschooler or a smiling senior, simple actions can make a big difference. From making sure your child gets enough sleep to packing bookbags the night before, MEBA’s “Back to School Basics” can help get your new school year off to a great start that will last a lifetime.

Find even more “Back to School Basics” by MEBA’s Kay Barlow featured in the August 2014 issue of Millennium Magazine.

Read More

Make this year one of healthy, happy achievement by ensuring your child is:

  • Well-rested. The later bed times of summer should now give way to earlier ones to make sure your child gets plenty of sleep so he or she is focused and energized during the day.
  • Healthy. Make sure your child has a yearly check-up with both the doctor and dentist. Summer is a great time to schedule these appointments so you know your child is well and ready for the school year.
  • Fit. Provide opportunities for your child to be active. Exercise can help improve your child’s attitude, ability to focus, academic achievement and overall health.
  • Nourished. Make sure your child has access to three, well-balanced meals each day. Your child’s diet should include plenty of good proteins, fruits and vegetables. A child who is hungry or does not receive proper nutrition may lack energy and find it hard to focus.
  • Informed. Talk with your child to make sure he or she is familiar with his or her schedule, transportation to and from school, school procedures and also what to do in emergency situations.
  • Prepared. Pack bookbags and lunches the night before, making sure all homework is complete and all necessary items are included. Help your child lay out his or her clothes the night before so that mornings will run smoothly.
  • Encouraged. Most importantly, make sure your child knows that his or her education is important and that you are there to support his or her best efforts. Let your child know that your love for him or her is unconditional.

Find more great Back to School Tips for parents from Homeroom, the Official Blog of the US Department of Education.

Check out this video from Richland School District Two for more back to school tips from Kay Barlow, MEBA’s Community and Parent Education Director.

Connecting with Your Child’s School

  • Get to know the people at your child’s school and establish positive relationships with your child’s teacher, school administrators and other staff members. It’s important to not only establish a positive relationship with your child’s teachers, but also the school administrators, nurse and other officials.
  • Attitudes are contagious, so make sure to have a positive one about education. Encourage and model respect and appreciation for learning, schools and educators.
  • Post the school calendar in a visible place in your home, review it with your child and refer to it frequently.
  • Make an effort to attend as many school functions as possible. Show your child you are engaged and supportive of his or her academic success.
  • Stay informed of your child’s progress. Use email, phone calls, notes and scheduled visits to communicate with your child’s teacher.
  • Do your part to make sure your child is always prepared. Return forms on time, review your child’s homework assignments and make sure your child has appropriate school supplies.
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer for school activities, events and committees. Join the Parent-Teacher Organization. Call the school or ask your child’s teacher to find out how you can become involved.

Academic Success

  • Provide your child with three well-balanced meals each day complete with plenty of good proteins, fruits and vegetables. Make sure he or she also drinks plenty of water.
  • Make sure your child gets enough exercise as regular physical activity can help improve a child’s attitude, focus and academic achievement.
  • Children thrive on routine. Having a set bedtime and wake time will help make sure your child is well rested and ready to learn.
  • Have a special place in your home for your child to do his or her homework and study. Make sure the area is well lit and free from distractions. Keep supplies such as pencils, paper and a calculator handy.
  • Teach children how to manage time wisely. Show them how to prioritize tasks, set goals and plan ahead.
  • Emphasize the importance of being prepared. Use a calendar to keep track of upcoming school events, assignments and tests. Review homework assignments and return forms on time.
  • Talk with your child and outline your education expectations. Encourage him or her to set goals and work to achieve them.

Study Skills

Helping your child develop good study skills is important to academic success. Each child should have a homework routine to follow daily. When it is time to study, your child should be organized, informed and ready to start work.

Use the checklist below to help your child develop and maintain good study skills.

  • Assignment Notebook
    Provide your child with an assignment notebook where he or she records all assignments immediately during the school day.
  • Plan
    Help your child plan what he or she wants to accomplish during the homework time and make a list. Large tasks should be broken down into smaller, manageable parts.
  • Books and Supplies
    Help your child gather all necessary textbooks, reference books and supplies prior to starting the homework session. Collect homework supplies such as pencils, paper and a calculator and place in a shoebox to keep handy.
  • Clock
    Keep a clock and timer close by to help your child manage his or her time.
  • Eliminate Distractions
    Turn off TV, radio, video games or anything else that may be distracting to your child. Classical music played softly in the background may be helpful. Encourage your child not to daydream during his or her studies.

Test Success

Standardized tests are used in all United States public schools to measure student performance, aptitude and more. As a parent, there are many ways you can support and encourage your child to do his or her very best.

Checklist for Test Success

  • Make sure your child is well prepared, well rested and well fed.
  • Maintain a calm, positive environment in the home.
  • Make sure your child understand the location and expectations of the test.
  • Be certain your child has all required materials such as pencils and forms.
  • Encourage your child to do his or her best, but make sure your child also knows your love and approval do not depend on his or her test scores.


Statistics show that bullying takes place every seven minutes on our playgrounds and goes unreported a majority of the time. Bullying is a serious problem, one with serious repercussions in need of serious attention. Bullying is also a learned behavior. It is meanness, a quality we do not want to see in ourselves and especially not in our children. As parents, we are our children’s greatest teachers. We must model kindness and show that bullying will not be tolerated.

Read More

Types of Bullying

Bullying comes in many forms, both direct and indirect.

  • Physical bullying involves hitting, kicking, shoving and spitting with the intention of causing physical harm and fear. Physical bullying is most often done by boys to other boys.
  • Verbal bullying includes name-calling, teasing and making insults or threats to embarrass and intimidate.
  • Social or relational bullying is mental harassment by teasing, excluding or humiliating. Threatening gestures, body language, dirty looks and gossip are used to isolate individuals and destroy status within a peer group. Social bullying is most often done by girls to other girls.
  • Cyber bullying is the newest and perhaps the most harmful type of bullying our children are experiencing. Text messages, voicemails, e-mails and social networking sites are used to threaten, intimidate and spread false rumors about a victim. Our children are tech savvy but often emotionally insensitive to the feelings of others. In today’s world of immediate connection, one photo upload or derogatory post can go “viral,” causing great harm and hurt almost instantly.

Bullying is not only about the bully and the victim. Bullying also impacts those who witness such acts. Many simply stand by and do nothing, often resulting in years of emotional distress and guilt. We must teach our children empathy. We must show them how to treat others and encourage them to seek help. In the simplest words, we must foster love and kindness.

What Parents Can Do

  • Stay connected. Talk with your child, listen to him or her and get to know his or her friends.
  • Make sure your child knows that bullying is wrong, unacceptable and carries serious consequences.
  • Teach your child empathy, how to treat others and when to seek help from an adult. Bullying is not only about the bully and the victim; it also impacts those who witness such acts. Many simply stand by and do nothing, often resulting in years of emotional distress and guilt.
  • Watch for signs that your child is being bullied. If he or she no longer wants to go to school or ride the bus, begins losing school supplies or lunch money, has unexpected cuts and bruises, you may have a problem and you need to investigate.

If You Suspect Your Child is Being Bullied…

  • Talk with your child. Explain that bullying is never okay, should not be tolerated and that you are here to help.
  • Listen to your child. Encourage your child to tell you about his or her bullying experience. Praise him or her for having the courage to share the experience with you.
  • Show empathy and concern for your child. Don’t blame your child or assume he or she did something to provoke the bully.
  • Work with your child to develop appropriate strategies for dealing with the bullying such as playing a different game or staying close to a supervising adult. Never tell your child to ignore the bullying. Do not encourage physical retaliation.
  • Go to the proper authorities. Report your concerns about what your child has experienced to your child’s school and work together to determine a solution. Start with the school, but do not stop there if the issue is not resolved.

Learn More

Internet Safety

Today’s children are spending more and more time “online.” Whether they are surfing the Web, playing video games or texting, staying on top of the latest technology and trends in order to protect our children can be overwhelming for parents and caregivers. Even with a federal law – the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – in place to offer protection for young persons, parents must still play an active role.

Internet Safety Tips

To help you navigate this high tech world and keep your child safe, check out the following tips:

  • Make sure home computers are placed and used in the family room or kitchen instead of child’s bedroom.
  • Limit and supervise your child’s access to and use of these devices.
  • Talk to your child about Internet safety.
  • Become computer literate.
  • Be alert. If your child turns the computer off when you enter the room, there is a probably a problem.
  • If your child spends a lot of time on the Internet, you should investigate. Make it your business to know what is going on.
  • Check your computer’s history and look for any signs of visits to inappropriate site.
  • If your child becomes withdrawn, receives calls or gifts from a person unknown to you, you need to investigate.
  • Realize the Internet is a big part of your child’s life. Help them understand that things are not always as they appear; people are not always who they say they are.
  • Teach your child to never give out personal information on the Internet, send photos or agree to physically meet anyone he or she meets online.
  • Look for signs of cyber bullying and tell your child NOT to respond.
  • Find and use parental controls
  • If your child receives unacceptable communications, notify your Internet provider and local law enforcement immediately.
  • Stay connected to your child. Communicate. Listen to them and be attentive to your child’s behavior.

The Great Transition: Elementary to Middle

The transition from elementary to middle school is a big one. Your child is leaving the comfortable safe haven of elementary school for uncharted territory — middle school. Not since starting kindergarten, has your child made such an important transition in his or her educational journey. Research shows that students transitioning from elementary to middle school often experience a decline in grades, motivation, self-esteem and self-confidence, making it crucial that parents stay involved. Even as your child wants more space and personal freedom, he or she still needs your guidance, craves your approval and benefits from your involvement.

Tips for a Successful Transition

Check out these tips for a successful transition for your child and for you.

  • Explain that middle school is different – increased homework, changing classes – but also an exciting time filled with new opportunities.
  • Stay involved. Your child may want more space and personal freedom, but he or she still needs your guidance and craves your approval.
  • On registration day, let your child be in charge by carrying his or her own books, reading directions and leading you in what to do next. This will give your student a feeling of ownership and accomplishment.
  • Read the handbook with your student, making sure he or she understands the rules and procedures.
  • Help your child get and stay organized. Use an assignment folder and calendar to keep track of important deadlines and have a specific place in your home for bookbags, school supplies and important papers.
  • Help your child develop good study skills and learn to manage time wisely. Planning ahead will help your child not to feel stressed or overwhelmed.
  • Give your student plenty of opportunities to practice good decision-making at home. Letting your child make decisions (and maybe even a few mistakes) at home and then talking with him or her about the outcome will develop wisdom and confidence.
  • Middle school is a peak time for students to bully and be bullied, whether at school or online. Be aware of personality changes and mood swings. Ask questions and stay involved.
  • They may be older, but middle school students still need lots of sleep, exercise and a balanced diet.
  • Spend time with and enjoy your middle school student. Take time to be a parent, good role model and encourager. Treasure time together and love your child unconditionally.

Choosing a Career Path

It’s never too early or too late to get your child thinking about his or her future after high school. Even for our youngest children, early exposure to various careers can put them on the right path for a successful and happy future. Show your child how his or her interests can directly impact his or her course of study, career path and future success.

Try the following suggestions to start your child thinking and succeeding!

  • Start young. Develop career awareness by talking about various jobs when reading books and newspapers, watching television and observing worksites.
  • Support your child’s efforts to assess his or her interests, aptitudes, values and work styles.
  • Share your job experience. A child will love hearing you talk about what you do at work. Take them to work with you, letting them observe a work environment, what skills are needed for different jobs, and what types of behaviors are expected in professional situations. A child loves hearing about what his or her parents’ do at work.
  • Look it up. Use the Internet or local library to find more information about various careers, the skills and education required and daily responsibilities.
  • Look it up. Use the Internet or local library to find more information about various careers, the skills and education required and daily responsibilities.
  • Encourage participation in job shadowing and internship opportunities. Check with your school’s guidance personnel for more information about what is available for your child.
  • Help your child understand the importance of his or her academic courses for success in a future career.
  • Advise your child that there is more than one educational pathway to a good job. More than 50% of the fastest growing jobs require an associate degree, and there are variety of routes to success: on-the-job training, technical college, two- and four-year colleges, apprenticeships or the military.

Ready for the Workforce of the Future

The following insights and tips can help you answer “Yes!” to the question, “Is my child ready for the workforce of the future?”

  • All jobs of the future will require education and training, but not necessarily a four-year degree.
  • Employers will look for employees with strong communication — both written and verbal – and math skills.
  • To find a career that will bring professional success as well as personal fulfillment, each person should know their abilities and strengths, likes and dislikes.
  • Students should take advantage of any work exposure opportunity including internships, shadowing or part-time jobs.
  • Soft skills such as time management, ability to work as a team, problem solving and dependability will be a must.
  • The workforce of the future will be driven by technology. Knowledge and smart use of technology will be necessary.
  • Help your child understand that the choices he or she makes today can impact the opportunities available tomorrow. Careful use of social media now is necessary for professional success later.