Going back to school at the end of a fun-filled summer is a big adjustment for the whole family. Make the transition from summertime to school year a little easier with these back to school tips for parents.
1. Set a new schedule.
Take a look at school schedules, after-school activities and potential homework loads. Adjust your family’s schedule to align with the activities and responsibilities a new school year brings. Over two or three weeks, practice getting to bed on time and waking up with plenty of time to get ready for school.
It also helps to establish before- and after-school routines. Healthy breakfasts and dinners, designated homework and reading time, and limited screen time should all be part of the new normal. Practice as much as you can and talk about the other elements of your family’s new schedule, such as getting on and off the bus or picking up siblings from daycare.
2. Go back to school shopping.
Most schools will send home a list of items students need for their school year. This may happen as early as your kid’s last report card the previous spring. Many stores will have local school districts’ supply lists near back to school displays as well.
Head to the store at least a couple of weeks before school starts to avoid the rush of last-minute shoppers. This way, you and your kids will have plenty of time to organize supplies to prepare for back to school. Keep in mind that teachers write supply lists specifically for their curriculums. Sticking to the list will help your students be ready for the year’s activities. A cute notebook or folder is definitely okay, especially if it helps get kids excited about the upcoming school year. However, avoid any items your child’s new teacher specifically prohibits.
In addition to school supplies, your kids will likely need new school clothes. Go through cool-weather clothes and toss or donate any items they’ve outgrown. Let kids pick out a few new outfits. Take gym class, recess and picture day into account while shopping. Schools may have limitations on footwear and clothing to help keep kids safe. Make sure the items you purchase are within these guidelines.
3. Visit your kids’ school.
For preschoolers and kindergarteners heading to a new school, visiting beforehand can help calm kids’ (and parents’) nerves. Talk about the bus route or practice the walk to school. Read books about going to school to help kids understand what will happen in the classroom.
Kids heading back to school will also have new experiences they want to share with you. Make sure you attend open houses so your kids can show you their classroom and you can meet teachers and other students’ parents.
4. Update your family calendar.
Set up a family calendar everyone can read (use color coding and icons for little ones) to stay organized. Add any new activities, such as sports or study groups, and encourage older kids to add events they’re attending.
5. Plan fun fall family activities.
Families love summer because of all the time they get to spend experiencing new things together! Plan a few fun weekend or after-school trips and highlight other exciting fall events on your calendar. Apple picking, pumpkin carving and trick-or-treating are just a few of the fun activities fall has to offer. This will help kids beat back to school blues.
6. Celebrate summer.
Summer isn’t quite over yet. Spend time together before everyone goes back to school. Check out one of Western New York’s popular kids’ activities, visit a favorite park or have a little backyard celebration.
7. Set up playdates.
Schedule a few playdates with classmates before school starts. This will make the first few days of the school year less nerve-wracking for kids. Try to find two or three students who will be in your child’s class this coming fall. Think about last year’s classmates, teammates, and friends from church, scouts or camp.
8. Create space for school supplies.
Giving backpacks, lunchboxes, permission slips, coats and shoes a place to live helps families prepare for the next day. Have a designated space for doing homework and reading as well. Stock this area with additional school supplies (pencils, paper, rulers, crayons, etc.). This way, it’s less likely supplies meant for the classroom will be left at home.
9. Schedule physicals and eye exams.
If your kids’ yearly physical or eye exam slipped by this summer, reschedule for fall. Healthy kids who can see, hear and focus on teacher instructions are set up for success!