It’s that time of year again, when the summer fades and the “first-day jitters” arrive. Starting school is always a big transition for children, but there are many small things you, as a parent, can do to prepare your child for the year ahead starting now. Here are 12 back to school tips to kick off the new year on the right foot.
- Get your child back into their sleeping routine.
After a summer of fun, it is important to get your child back into the swing of things a few of weeks before school begins. During the summer, staying up late and sleeping in are expected. In order to prevent stressful, rushed mornings, ease your child back into a routine by having them go to sleep and wake up earlier and earlier as the weeks before school dwindle down. This will have your child on a better sleeping schedule by the start of the school year.
- Shop for school supplies together.
It’s hard to get your child excited to go back to school, but one way to do this is to shop for school supplies together. Bring your child along to pick out their own notebooks, pencils, pens, backpack, lunchbox, etc. Including your child in the shopping process makes the thought of a new school year a little more exciting for them rather than dispiriting.
- Review the basics ahead of time.
Jumping right back into learning after a long few months of barely using their brain can be hard for any child. It’s always helpful to keep your child’s mind active throughout the summer- especially a few weeks before school begins. Have them practice their multiplication and division, read at least one book, and overall challenge them to think so they’ll be prepared for the year ahead.
- Limit TV/Video Game time.
A couple weeks before school begins, start limiting the time that your child spends on their device or watching TV. Encourage them to engage in other activities so that it won’t be such a shock when they go back to school and can’t watch TV or play video games all day long.
- Set up a homework area.
Another good way to get your child thinking about school again (and preparing them for it) is by setting up a homework area together. Whether in their room, in the kitchen, or in another area, designate a specific spot to be the place that they will do work. Stock this space up with the right materials so that once the homework starts rolling in, they’ll have a place they feel comfortable doing it.
- Get all your paperwork in check.
The start of the school year also means the start of loads of paperwork. Make sure to have your child’s transportation organized, permission slips signed, and vaccines in check. There’s always a laundry list of things that have to get done before school begins- set up some sort of system to ensure you get everything done.
- Make sure all summer work is completed.
You may not be the only person with work to complete before school begins- your child may have homework as well. Although it is the last thing they will want to do, encourage your child to finish their work- whether being summer reading or worksheets- as soon as possible. This way they can enjoy the end of their summer without having work looming over their head or cramming the last few days.
- Figure out after school plans.
After school activities encourage exercise, friendship, and the pursuit of a hobby. Not only is there important organizing that has to go into school, but also where you’re child will go after school. Talk to your kid about what activities they want to engage in and sign them up sooner rather than later. This will reduce confusion of where your child will go during what days once school actually begins.
- If it’s a new school visit the school with your child.
If your child is going to a new school for the first time- whether moving up grades or moving to a new place- it can be incredibly intimidating. Reduce the nerves by showing them around a bit. If you can’t get into the actual school during the summer, drive by and show them what it looks like on the outside. Although the first day of school is still nerve-racking, the school itself will seem a little less daunting if they’ve seen it before.
- Familiarize yourself with the school and its faculty.
It isn’t just important to familiarize your child with the school, but also to brush up on key information yourself. Read up or ask around about teachers, write down the names and numbers of the principal, vice principal, counselors and nurses, and take down any other important information that may be handy in the future.
- Go over your child’s schedule with them.
Usually your child will receive their schedule either at the end of the prior school year or right before the new one. Whenever their schedule is received, make sure your child is aware of where they are going and when. It is always helpful to print out a blank schedule that displays everyday of the week and fill out this schedule together so your child isn’t clueless of where to go when they walk into school on the first day.
- Talk to your child.
Probably the most important tip I can give is to have a conversation with your child before school begins. What are their fears and anxieties? How can they get past these nerves? What are their goals for the year? How can they achieve these goals? These are all important questions that you should speak about with your child to make sure you have open communication and acknowledge their excitements and fears.
Anticipate that your child will be nervous to begin a new school year- you may even be too! Although there is nothing that can completely take away these anxieties, being as prepared as possibly through these 12 steps can certainly help.