Back to School Tips for Families
With the end of summer fast approaching, it is time to prepare for the schedule and lifestyle shifts the school year will inevitably bring. There are many ways parents and kids can work together to make the transition from the summer to the school more gradual and organized, rather than abrupt and chaotic.
Ease the family into a school year schedule
There is a lot of freedom within a summer schedule; kids have more flexibility with what time they wake up, what time they go to bed, and what time they eat. The school year does not offer this level of flexibility and families need to be eased into this schedule gradually, rather than being struck with a drastic change on the first day of school. During the last two weeks of summer, reintroduce your children to school year sleeping and eating schedules so they are properly prepared for school.
Make a plan for back-to-school shopping
Back-to-school shopping, with both new clothes and new school supplies to purchase, can become an expensive venture. Formulate a calculated approach to shopping that will ensure your purchases do not go beyond your needs or means. With your child, take some time to assess his or her needs and go through closets and drawers to check for outgrown and worn clothing. This will help you know what your child needs and also help to ensure your child has an organized bedroom to start off the year. Don’t forget to take hand-me-downs into consideration before going shopping for your younger children. Also, ask your child’s school for a classroom supplies list before going school supply shopping so that you will know exactly what your child needs.
Organize the calendar
The school year calendar, with sports practices, piano lessons, Girl Scout meetings, school assignments, and more, is undoubtedly full of more time-sensitive activities than the summer calendar. Organizing your family’s plans for the first few months of the school year before it is set in motion will ensure that the school year remains organized from the start.
Refresh basic school skills
If your children have not been doing so already this summer, now is the time for them to begin reading again. Encourage your children to read for twenty minutes a day to help prepare their minds for school. Also, start going through flashcards and/or worksheets to refresh their memory of basic math skills. Stores like Target and Wal-Mart have workbooks for different ages and skill levels that will help your child feel better prepared for their classes.
Revise your approach to the morning routine
Many parents would agree that mornings during the school year are quite chaotic. There are easy ways to ensure that mornings go a little more smoothly and there is no better time to put a new routine into action than the beginning of the school year. Plan ahead in the evening for the following morning; make sure breakfast items are easy to get to, have your children lay out their clothes and organize their homework and backpack the night before, and develop a morning bathroom schedule if your children share a bathroom. Your revised morning routine will depend on your family’s needs, but it is vital that you begin your family’s new routine on the first day of school in order to start off on the right foot.
Familiarize your children with their school and teachers
If your child’s school hosts an open house event, be sure to attend. Familiarizing your child with their school environment will help him or her avoid first day of school nerves or fears. Having your child meet their teacher, find their desk, and explore their school will ensure that the first day of school is an exciting experience, rather than a nerve-inducing one. If you are unable to arrange a meeting between your child and their teacher, try to find a picture of their teacher on the school’s website or in a yearbook, so that your child has a visual representation of the teacher, beyond solely the name. For older children who are already familiar with the school, ask them to give you a tour of the school. This will give them a boost of confidence while also refreshing their memory of the school.