Back to School Preparation Tips for Parents
Preparing children for the end of summer vacation and the start of the school year is something all parents look forward to yet dread at the same time. After three months of unfettered freedom, children are no longer in “school” mode, i.e., going to bed early, getting up early, completing homework, and often experience a rough transition period when abruptly faced with these changes. Fortunately, there are many ideas and activities that can help parents make the switch from the lazy days of summer to the more structured regimen of school less stressful and more enjoyable for parents and kids.
5 “Must-Do” Back to School Preparation Tips for Parents and Kids
- Get kids back on a school sleep schedule two weeks before the first day of school. Put them to bed by 9:00 pm and gradually get them used to getting up early. For example, let them sleep as late as they want the first couple of days, then start getting them up 15 minutes earlier each day. By the time school starts, their brains and bodies will be used to the schedule and you won’t have to deal with grumpy children in the morning.
- Take your child to your family physician for a check-up and your eye doctor for a vision examination. Treating any health or vision problems before school starts will greatly improve your child’s ability to succeed academically and may help prevent unnecessary absences.
- Establish a quiet study area in your home or in your child’s bedroom where they can do their homework without being distracted. Include your child in picking out a desk, desk lamp and other accessories to show you are truly interested in your child’s education.
- Some younger, more introverted children may worry about whether their new teacher is “nice” or “mean” but rarely talk about this fear with their parents. You can help calm your child’s fears about a new teacher by taking him to visit his teacher a day or two before school. If your child is going to attend a new school, this would also be a great time to familiarize him with the school by showing him the layout of the school (location of his room, the cafeteria, restrooms, etc.) and where the bus will pick him up and drop him off.
- Let your child take an active role in picking out his school supplies, bookbag and school clothes. Splurging on a few, nonessential items while ensuring she has the necessary supplies will make any child feel better about going back to school.
Quick and Easy Back to School Preparation Tips
- Start organizing carpools or other transportation arrangements several weeks before school starts. Have “just-in-case” back-up plans ready to streamline last-minute disruptions
- Read through school conduct rules and regulations with your children. Make sure they understand them and advise them there are serious consequences for violating them.
- If your child is walking to school for the first time, take him along the route he is supposed to follow several times. If possible, scout out neighbors who live along that route and let your child know they can stop at certain houses while walking to school if they need help for any reason.
- Encourage children to be self-sufficient as they can be, according to their abilities. For example, all school-age children can lay out their school clothes the night before a school day or have their backpacks ready before going to bed. Anything you can think of that can be done at night will help streamline the morning routine.
- Remember to make sure your child either has lunch money or a packed lunch to take to school. Pack lunches the night before so you don’t have to spend time packing them in the morning or have your child pack his own lunch before going to bed.
And the Best Back to School Tip for Parents?
Get as much done as possible before school starts. Waiting until the last minute to buy new clothes, gather school supplies, develop a transportation plan or prepare your child’s brain and body for the rigors of school life only places needless stress on you and your child. A stressed child naturally feels less motivated to do well academically since all their energy is directed towards coping with the powerfully decentralizing force of anxiety.
To learn more about preparing you and your child for another school year, visit these helpful resources: