Preparing for a New School Year

Families will be facing a milestone at the end of the summer – their children will be starting or going back to school.  Preparation and planning will help ease your child(ren)’s transition from the freedom of summer to the wonderful opportunity to learn and grow at school.

If your family has moved or your child(ren) will be attending a new school, you should try and visit before the start of the upcoming school year.  Contact the school district or the principal to see if you can arrange an informal tour.  You should visit the lunchroom and have a snack, look at a few of the books in the library, use the restroom, and spend some time playing on the playground equipment. Make sure to get a list of any school or community events that will take place before the beginning of the school year.  Many schools publish a list of the other children in your child’s class or they may coordinate a pizza, potluck, or ice cream social.  Take advantage of the opportunity for your child to meet their classmates before class begins – it will help them be more comfortable.

Make sure that you look through your child’s closet and backpack if they have one.  You will need to ensure that your child has the appropriate clothes, supplies, and shoes they need for the school year.  Check with the school district or area stores for a list of supplies and cross-check what you have.  Buying new items, when necessary, can be an excellent way to stir excitement in your children.

One of the biggest hurdles to a new school year is the changing schedule.  Start easing into it early.  Try and make sure that dinner, baths/showers, reading, and bedtime are all on a schedule.  Adjust your routine gradually to make sure that each of your children has an adequate amount of sleep for their age.  Make sure you practice the morning routine so they are used to the drill before the big day comes.

Think about how you are going to handle homework.  Make sure your children know the rules before they start school.  Stick to the plan and make sure that your children know they are responsible for meeting the requirements of their teacher.

On the big day, consider having a special outfit or small gift put aside to give to your child(ren).  Make sure that you have a breakfast that will give them energy throughout the day.  Avoid the sugary cereals and have a well-balanced meal.  Create some memories and document the day with pictures.  Arrange to take the day off or go in late and leave early.  You can drop your child(ren) off in the morning and be there when they finish school for the day.  Your child (and you) will remember your special day.

The most important thing to remember when a child starts a new year of school is that they will be learning new things, forming new friendships, and building who they will be in the future.  Be excited and make sure they know that you are there to enjoy the experience with them.

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