7 Back-To-School Tips Parents Should Know

son and dad on first day of school

Back-to-school supplies are everywhere and back-to-school jitters are setting in. Both are a normal part of each new school year kickoff. Many children are going to a new school while others are nervous about what to expect at their old one. It’s up to parents and those caring for children to make the beginning of this annual experience as smooth as possible for everyone in the household.

Here are some suggestions we've gathered together for you:

1) A review of last year's school work

Many teachers and educators are concerned that during summer vacations kids may forget what they learned the previous year. It might help your kids to get ready by having them do reading, writing and math exercises during the last weeks of vacation. This is a way to ease back into school work and refresh what they learned last year. It's a win, win!

2) Turn shopping for school into a fun time

Taking kids shopping for clothes and supplies helps them get back into the school mindset. It's also an opportunity to spend time talking about what they are looking forward to and what they might be fearful of. Whether it's the expectation of joining a sports team or fear of meeting new people, you can help them by encouraging their aspirations and dispelling their doubts. Learning to make choices is important: let them pick the color of their backpacks, notebooks, and let them have a say on their school clothes.  At the end, treat them to something special, like ice cream.

3) Print out a morning schedule and do a test drive to school

Make your kids accountable for morning duties like fixing their beds and getting dressed on time. If they follow a basic morning routine that starts with brushing the teeth and washing, it's easier for them to refer back to a schedule they can actually read. Share it with them and make small adjustments to make them feel they are part of the decision-making process. Whether they ride the bus or carpool, everyone is more relaxed when they know the way and take a familiar route to get there. If your kids walk, you can do the same thing.

4) Identify the best place to do homework together

Ask them to help find a spacious well-organized homework area where they can do after school work. Making them part of the selection and setup process will foster a sense of ownership and encourage positive home studying habits. Listen to their ideas on how they would like it to look. A quiet, nicely designed and personalized study space helps motivate children to focus on their studies.

5) Review the lunch calendar

Lunchtime is not only about eating; it's also an important social event. If you pack lunches, give your kids input on lunch ideas. If your kids buy, going over the school lunch calendar will alleviate anxiety over lunch surprises. Review the school lunch calendar with them. You can highlight days when something particularly good is served and plan around days when your child finds the school lunch menu less palatable. Once school is underway, take an interest in who they eat lunch with.

6) Meet teachers

Orientation day is a great opportunity for students to meet their teacher and ease first day jitters. If an in-person meeting isn't possible, read about the teacher on the school's website. Get kids to school early so they can arrive to class relaxed.

7) Fun time as a reward

As the school year progresses and becomes more demanding, it's important for kids to maintain good study habits. One way to encourage this is by setting a daily or weekly ‘fun time’ after homework is finished. They can enjoy a limited time period to play on their tablets, watch TV, read, play outdoors or engage in some other fun way to release energy. Organizing weekly family outings is a great way to combine time together with playful exercise. Communication is key to healthy relationships. Regular chats will keep the lines open and help you gauge how kids are doing from an emotional and academic perspective.

Each child is different and you know what works best for your kid. We hope these back-to-school tips help your family make a smooth transition from vacation back to school.

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