Back to School is approaching fast! Lazy summer days full of splashing around, vacations, barbecues and late bedtimes will be replaced with homework, packing lunches, and cooler weather. That’s quite a transition! As a parent myself, I love to learn new ways to prepare my children and myself for the upcoming year. Chaos is never a good thing. Here’s some helpful suggestions:
First Day of School Tips
1. Make a separate list ahead of time of all the tasks that needs to be done for each child and attach the book, supply and shopping lists physically to the list.
2. At least 10 days in advance, make stacks of everything you have accumulated for each child and compare it to the list. This gives you time to get a last minute book or school supply at the store before a last minute crisis.
3. Once you have complete stacks for each child of books, school supplies and school uniforms, label EVERYTHING with that child’s name. I mean EVERYTHING.
4. Stock your glove compartment with freshly sharpened pencils just in case. If you live in a warm climate, I recommend against storing crayons there…but that is another story.
1. Look through your child’s back pack weekly. Friday is a great day for this, because a lot of elementary schools send home a Friday Folder that holds paperwork, school work and grades or notes. This is also a great way to avoid the stinky, moldy lunchbox remains that are hiding in the bottom of the bag.
2. Don’t buy a lot of school clothes before school starts. Your child will inevitably grow two inches between August and November if you invested a lot of money in clothing. Just refresh a few things for the beginning of school. Most of the clothes will be on clearance when you would naturally need to buy them anyway.
3. Do buy your school supplies early. Many office supply stores and big box stores have great deals going on now. I suggest you head to the store alone, if possible, to get staple items on sale like notebook paper for a penny or crayons for a quarter. Buy most of the supplies in basic colors, and reserve a few items to buy with the kids. This will allow them to express their personalities without breaking the bank. Back packs and lunch boxes are a great way for them to express who they are, and their favorite super hero, without you having to buy the matching notebooks, folders, and pencil cases.
4. Create an art storage system before they return to school. Binders with sheet protectors, folders, a wall full of blank frames to place the papers in, or even string and clothespins work to display and protect the A+ paper, certificates, and drawing of the dog.
More Back-to-School Tips for Parents
- Get the children to bed on time. During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule. But, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your child get used to the back-to-school routine: start the transition now to earlier wake-up times and bedtimes. For more information, visit: http://www.ed.gov/parents/countdown-success
- Communicate with teachers and the school. Contact your child’s teachers at the start of the school year. Get acquainted with them and let them know you want to be an active partner in helping your student to learn and grow. Plan to keep track of your child’s subjects, homework, activities and progress throughout the school year. And, consider serving on your local PTA or joining other parent groups that engage with and support your child’s school. For additional ideas, go to: http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/succeed/succeed.pdf
- Provide for healthy meals. Hungry kids can’t concentrate on learning, so good nutrition plays an important role in your child’s school performance. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school. Fix nutritious meals at home, and, if you need extra help, find out if your family qualifies for any Child Nutrition Programs, like the National School Lunch Program. Learn more at: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Back-to-School.shtml
- Take your child to the doctor, and make sure your child has health insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. So, check your state’s immunization requirements. And, always keep your own copies of any medical records. What’s more, you can explore and choose the most affordable health insurance options, including free and low-cost coverage for those who quality for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Find more student health resources at: http://www.usa.gov/Topics/Back-to-School.shtml
- Prepare a study area. Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.
- Read Together. Take the pledge to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together.
Also, make sure you get that ‘First Day of School’ picture! Some ideas to include in the photograph are a poster board with your child’s name, grade they’re going in, and what they’d like to be when they grow up. I’ve been doing this with my sons since they started school and I can honestly say, it’s one of my favorite memories!
One other thing we like to do is to have a “Back To School Feast.” Every year, the boys look forward to it and it’s our way of saying goodbye to summer.
Do you have tips you’d like to share? Comment or email me, Jennkaysen@gmail.com. CASA of CGS would love your opinion!