It’s That Time of Year…Preparing for Back to School
Even though my kiddos are grown, I still go back to school! I’m a school counselor, and every year I get excited about this time of year.
One of my favorite parts about being a school counselor is that even though I do similar tasks each year, the start of the school year is a whole new beginning! I get to meet a new grade level of kindergarteners each year, and it is so much fun to see how the students from last year have grown and matured!
Preparing for your child’s return to school can be lots of fun, but it can also be stressful. Planning and starting early is the key for a great beginning.
Important Items for Back to School Preparation
Below are some important items for helping you prepare for the start of a new school year:
Purchase School Supplies – Head over to your school’s web site and print off your child’s school supply list for their grade level. Then check out your local Target, Walmart, or office supply store. Target and Walmart typically have better deals for school supplies, but often times you will need to purchase a specific calculator, etc. that requires you to travel to your nearest office supply store.
Open and Label Supplies with your Child’s Name – Many parents don’t really think about this step, but it is really important to your child’s teacher. When I was a teacher, one of the items that students needed was head phones or ear buds to connect to our computers/iPads. It was difficult for my students to open their headphones’ packaging, and then once opened, their name was not on their head phones/ear buds. It then took a great deal of time for the class to complete this task. Some savvy parents printed off labels with their child’s name so they could easily peel and stick the label onto their child’s supplies.
Sharpen Pencils/Colored Pencils – It’s not necessary to label every pencil your child brings to school, but sharpening them at home will make it easier for your child at school.
Organize Student’s Wardrobe/Closet
Sort through your child’s wardrobe/shoes/coats to organize or help them organize their clothing. Donate what doesn’t fit and make a list of what you need to purchase. Hit the back to school sales at your nearest and favorite stores.
Backpack, Lunch Box, Water Bottle, Umbrella – Check out the condition of these items from last year and replace as needed. Backpacks can be expensive, so purchase the most reliable one in your price range. Otherwise, they will be falling apart and have a broken zipper before winter break!
1 – 2 Weeks Before School Starts
Bedtime Routine – Be sure to ease your child into a new bedtime routine. Children need 9-10 hours of restful sleep to do their best in school. Waiting till the night before school starts to get them to bed early will be a recipe for disaster.
Create a System to Organize Homework, Student Papers and Art – This can be in your home command center or their bedroom, but students need to be taught how to use this system. Organization of school materials doesn’t come naturally for most children. They will need assistance and reminders till they understand how to complete and sustain this process.
Determine a Space for Backpacks & Lunch Boxes – Children need to be responsible for organizing their belongings. If you are an organized person, your children may inherit that ‘lucky gene’, but more times than not, techniques need to be pointed out, taught, and consistently reviewed till they become more of a habit.
Create a Master Calendar – I believe having a paper Printable.2017Calendar is best for kids. They can visibly see what event is coming up and what they need to prepare for each day/week. My kids each kept their own calendar, and I kept a Master Calendar. Color coding the master schedule is a time-saving visual and helpful tip. Each child’s activities can be a different color to help you see at a glance who needs to do what. Doctor’s appointments, sports, school activities, etc. will be easier to keep track of. Visually, it is easier for you to check at a glance.
Grocery Shop for School Lunches and Snacks – Choosing healthy lunches and snacks for your child is so important. When I am in our school cafeteria, it is alarming for me to watch the amount of food students throw away! It is obvious that parents took a great deal of time, energy, and money to pack a healthy, nutritious lunch for their child or to provide money for their child to purchase a nutritious lunch. Many children eat very little at lunch. I know parents would be alarmed if they saw this! Talk to your child about how important it is to eat all or most of their lunch.
Day Before School
Charge Your Phone/Camera! – You want to make sure you have a nice ‘first day of school’ photo for your children. Having them hold a cute sign saying “First Day of Second Grade!” is an awesome way of capturing this moment. There are numerous first day of school photo ideas on Pinterest! I wish I knew about these when my children were in school!!
Prepare Lunch and Morning Snack, Unless They are Purchasing
Lay out Clothes for 1st Day
Set Their Alarm – This helps to make your child responsible for getting up and getting ready.
First Day of School
Breakfast Time – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Even if your child has a ‘nervous tummy’ it is very important for them to eat something. Also, make sure that they have their nutritious morning snack if your child’s teacher allows that. If they didn’t eat enough breakfast because of ‘butterflies’, they will most likely get hungry before lunch time arrives. Hungry children can’t do their best!
Morning Routine – If your child has trouble remembering everything they need to do to get ready, create a Morning Checklist for them. If your child is in kindergarten or first grade, you can create a checklist with photos.
Take a Picture – Don’t forget to take that ‘First Day of ___ Grade’ picture. As they get older, you’ll be so glad you did!
Encouragement Time – If your child is anxious about school, don’t get emotional or tell them that you will miss them. This only makes the anxiety worse. Smile, be strong, and tell them to do their best.
Bus Stop – If your child rides the bus, be sure that they arrive at the bus stop 5 -10 minutes early. If your child is at the beginning of the bus driver’s route, the bus will usually arrive a little early the first week of school.
Each School Night Thereafter – Let Your Child Be Responsible for as Many of These Items as Possible
Pack Backpack With All Necessary Homework, Supplies, and Forms & Place by Door
Lay out Clothes for the Following School Day
Bath or Shower
Read to Your Child or Let Them Read to You
Prepare Lunches/Snack and Place in Refrigerator
Set Alarm & Go to Bed On Time
Now you and your child will be organized and ready for a fantastic school year!