The first day of school seems to get earlier and earlier every year giving parents and kids less preparation time. Let’s face it, it’s hard to switch gears from carefree summer activities to structured planning for the impending change in routine and focus. Mitigate back-to-school stress for the whole family by spreading out the tasks over the weeks prior to the first day of school so you all can relax and your child can enter the new school year with confidence.
Four weeks before school starts…
• Make sure your child is properly registered for school, particularly if he or she is going to a new school.
• Check to be sure any summer homework, such as required reading has been completed.
• Schedule doctor and dental appointments. Make sure immunizations are up to speed and find out if middle or high school students will need athletic checkups.
• Check the school website or visit the school office to get lists of school supplies or other items required at the opening of school.
• Develop a budget for back-to-school shopping. Secure before and/or after school care plans, especially if the situation is new to your child so there are no surprises.
• Mark the dates of any back-to-school activities, such as orientation, meet-the-teacher sessions, etc.
Three weeks before school starts…
• Start shopping for school supplies and clothes. Watch for sales and check for sales tax holidays in your area.
• Get a copy of the full school year calendar and mark any important dates on your family calendar or date book.
• If your child has lost touch with classmates over the summer, schedule some play dates so they can reconnect before school begins.
• To help your child get back into a learning mode try some brainteasers and learning games that can help sharpen cognitive power.
• Take a quick family getaway to spend some relaxing quality time before getting into the rigid back-to-school routine.
Two weeks before school starts…
• If your child will be attending a new school take them for a visit to locate their new classroom, the cafeteria, restrooms, playground and office.
• Depending on grade level, review some basics like reading, spelling, multiplication tables, etc.
• Help kids straighten and organize their rooms. Get school clothes clean and ready to wear.
• Choose a convenient place to store school supplies and prepare a comfortable spot conducive to homework and studying. Designate a location for backpacks and folders to be kept to avoid morning searches.
One week before school starts…
• Gradually start changing sleep and meal schedules to be compatible with the school schedule so it won’t be too drastic a change from the more relaxed summer routine.
• Set up a homework time and get your child in the habit of reading during homework time so they will be accustomed to it when homework starts.
• Make sure your child attends school orientations and meet-your-teacher events so he or she will be prepared and know what to expect from the new school year.
• Complete and return any forms and approval paperwork either before or by the start of school. Take care of any school fees.
• Go grocery shopping with your child for healthy lunch and snack materials.
• Go over bus schedules and routes, carpool schedules, or other transportation arrangements so your child is confident he or she knows the plan.
• Talk with your child about some of the exciting things that will be part of their curriculum this school year.
One day before school starts…
• Make lunches, pack backpacks, layout clothes for the first day of school and set alarm clocks.
First day of school…
• Enjoy! You and your child are ready.