9 Ways to Help Your Children Get Ready For the New School Year

9 Ways to Help Your Children Get Ready For the New School Year

by Kathy Green

As August dawns, and the summer holidays wind down, it is a time of both excitement and apprehension for students. Whether their summer was filled with activities or with complaints about being bored with nothing to do, kids often have a tough time making the back-to-school transition. To ease this transition from vacation to classroom, it is best to come up with a plan. Kids are wondering if their BFF will be in their class and agonizing over important shopping decisions: backpack or messenger bag? Tangible preparations such as buying notebooks and finding that perfect "first day of school" outfit are the easy part. But there are less tangible things you can do as well.

Here are 9 ways you can help your child, and yourself, get ready to go back to school.

  1. Re-Establish School Routines
    • Summer is a time to relax and get out of routines, so it is important that you use the last few weeks of summer to get into a school-day rhythm.
    • The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually.
    • By re-establishing an appropriate school bedtime routine, your child will have less trouble reverting to the early morning wakeup.
    • Have your child practice getting up and getting dressed at the same time every morning instead of staying in PJ's for breakfast.
    • Start eating breakfast, lunch, and snacks around the times your child will eat when school is in session.

  2. Engender Independent Behaviour
    • With your child, make a list of the school supplies that will be needed for their classes. This is an important early step in helping to establish a sense of responsibility.
    • Even with the younger children, establish a feeling of involvement and preparedness by organizing a backpack, pencil case etc. This will help boost confidence for children of all ages as they will possess a feeling of having what they need.
    • Get them ready for independence by talking ahead of time about the responsibilities they're old enough to manage on their own. For the older child this may include things such as writing down assignments, and bringing home homework.
    • With young children, you can have your young child practice writing their name and if old enough tying their own shoes. The transition to school will be easier for everyone if your child can manage basic needs without relying on an adult.

  3. Make a Practice Run
    • How will the children get to school? How long will it take? What is the safest and fastest route?
    • The first day of school is no time to find all of this out. Take a practice run, or two, then the first day of school will have less anxiety and frustration.

  4. After-School Plans
    • School gets out before most working parents get home, so it's important to figure out where your children will go, or who will be at home in the afternoons.
    • Make sure that your children are familiar and comfortable with these plans the first days of school in particular as it may help them adjust to their new schedule, teachers and all that is happening that first week.

  5. Set Goals
    • Children of all ages can discuss specific goals both academic and behavioural with you. Ask your child what they are hoping to learn in school this year. Write these down together, and save them in a special place.
    • In order to build a path of success, children of all ages need to know where they are heading.

  6. Establish Homework Routines
    • Make sure there's a quiet place that's free of distractions to do homework.
    • Discuss before school starts expectations about the 'when' and 'where' of daily homework.
    • If your kids are involved in social media, be sure to limit the time spent on these activities during homework time.
    • Make it clear that you're always available to help or answer any questions.

  7. Set and maintain an open channel of communication with the teachers
    • Email or talk with teachers regularly to maintain good communication throughout the school year, discussing your children's academic strengths as well as challenges.
    • If issues arise at school, they are best dealt with if you have a prior relationship with the teacher and an updated awareness of your child's progress.

  8. Organize School Paperwork
    • Schools often require documentation such as immunization records in the fall. Athletes need proof of medical examination. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation.
    • Call your child's school or check the school district website beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required.

  9. Create a Family Planner/Calendar
    • This organizer is essential for the family to progress into a busy fall schedule calmly and efficiently.
    • It acts as a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work.
    • It can also include school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules and field trip volunteer days.
    • Choose a calendar format that works for your family-if computer savvy, possibly your calendar could be stored in your smart phone or tablet and sync with multiple computers.

Shorter autumn days bring a hectic schedule of sports, school activities and social events.Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas listed above to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.