NASE News

Prepare for Back to School

What does back to school mean to you? Shopping for school supplies and new clothes, adjusting to a new and structured routine, quickly preparing lunches and attending parent-teacher conferences. Though there are so many things to consider, it is an exciting time for children to resume learning in a social setting. Seeing friends every day, participating in class activities and eating school lunches are part of the overall school experience. Make the transition from summer to school as easy and enjoyable as possible.

The key to getting ready for back to school is preparation. By focusing on what all needs to be accomplished and making the time to do it, the only concern on the first day of school should be who your child will sit with at lunch. Give yourself at least a couple weeks to get everything in order and boost your child’s confidence.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
If your child is new to the school, take some time during the summer to visit the school and become oriented with the layout. If your student is new to lockers, practice opening one to give him some confidence. Many schools have summer reading programs. Check out which books your child needs to read and make time for him to accomplish this responsibility. Inquire when school starts and lets out for the day. If your child plans to ride the bus, ask about the bus number and schedule. Take some time to label your student’s belongings, particularly if he is younger. Jackets, backpacks, lunchboxes and other items your child takes to school should have his initials or name on them. Arrange after school care if you work away from home and your child cannot stay home alone.

Visit the Doctor
A trip to your family physician should be scheduled before school starts. Catch up on any immunizations that your child needs during your trip to the doctor. Though they may be unwelcome, vaccinations can help your child’s body fight infection when his peers feel ill. A general check-up investigates your child’s overall health and offers an opportunity for early detection. This is also an optimal time for your student athletes to get their annual physical exams to ensure their health is in order for the upcoming season.

Shopping
There are many things your student will need to kick off the new school year. Pick up a copy of required school supplies for your child’s grade level from his or her school. View store ads to find the deals on the various school supplies you need this year before making your shopping trip. Consider purchasing extra supplies while they are on sale. Access to more supplies will come in handy throughout the year. Also, scope out the store ads to find sales on the clothes your child likes. Take an outing with the kids to try on clothes and make their picks. A treat like going out for lunch or ice cream makes a great reward for their cooperation. Check out the school’s dress code to make sure that each child’s purchases are appropriate for the school setting. When shopping for breakfasts and lunches for your kids, take them along. They can help make decisions on what they want to eat throughout the week. Lead them to healthy decisions and make sure they are getting the nutrition their bodies need.

Establish a Routine
About a week before school begins, implement times for your children to go to bed and get up in the morning. Practicing the new schedule makes the transition from summer to school a little easier. Consider discussing the new routine for the school year with your children. Find an area in the house to hang backpacks and jackets so that everything has a home when the family returns to end the day. This also makes it easier to find homework and quicker to get out the door in the morning.

The Day Before
Use your child’s enthusiasm the day before school starts to your advantage. Choose the first day of school outfit and lay it out where your child can easily reach it. Prepare lunches that evening and place them in the refrigerator. The grab and go concept might be helpful during the chaos of getting ready for the first day. Toss in a hand-sanitizing wipe to encourage your child to wash his hands before meals. Provide your child with home and emergency contact information. Compose a note to the school if your child has special needs or requires medication. Load your camera with film or a flash card reader and some batteries so that it is ready to capture those candid moments the next morning.

The First Day
Wish your student good luck! Feed your child a good, healthy breakfast to give him the energy needed to start the day. When your student returns home, he will probably need you to sign some forms and papers he collected throughout the day. Allot time in your evening schedule to get it done. At the end of the day, perhaps around suppertime, discuss everyone’s day.

Make the first day of school an exciting, organized experience. Planning ahead for your child’s big day ensures that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Acclimating your student back to school makes the transition from summer much easier. Keep everyone in the family involved for the preparations to encourage decision-making skills and interaction with one another. The back to school experience will be a time to remember.