As a professional educator of 30+ years, I developed a special relationship with all aspects of ‘back-to-school’. What I have found to be true, is that a smooth transition from summer to first day of school makes for a great beginning for the new school year. Here’s how you as parents can help.
Get into the school groove. Kids want to hang on to every minute of summertime. A gradual transition back into the schedule for school seems best for most. If they haven’t started already, begin waking the kids earlier. This also means begin the bedtime routine earlier. They will need plenty of rest for upcoming classes, extracurricular activities, and social events. Discuss your child’s feelings about starting school and talk over any apprehensions or worries he may have. Help put anxieties to rest.
Talk, talk, and talk some more. Talk with your child about
his/her daily school schedule and any classes that may cause difficulty. Talk about peer pressure with your child. Be certain your child understands things like peer pressure, bullying, and good-and-bad touches. Have your child memorize your home address and home and work phone numbers. Tour the school with your child so she can find her classrooms, the restrooms, and the cafeteria. Arrange a time for you and your child to meet his new teachers.
As the year progresses, establish a firm bedtime. Determine where and when your child will do homework. Figure out a plan for balancing homework and play time. Set rules for the time spent on TV, video games, and computer use for non-school projects.
Catch the back to school sales. Check the school website or call for a list of required supplies. Find out whether students will
store supplies at school or bring them home each day. Buy a backpack or bag to carry daily items. Review the school dress code. Buy or replace school uniforms and gym clothes, if necessary.
Prepare for the 1st day. Call the school with questions about the school itself, teachers, schedules, and any other concerns you or your child may have. Find out what day classes start and what time your child should arrive. Enroll your child (if she is not already registered from the previous year). Gather information for emergency contact sheets and any other required forms that may come home on the 1st day.
Know the medical requirements. Make sure your child has all required immunizations. Schedule a physical exam for your child if needed to participate in school/extracurricular activities. Get your child’s vision checked before school starts if he is due for an exam. Notify the principal’s office, the school nurse, and your child’s teachers about any health problems or medications. Make certain you have an ample supply of regularly prescribed medications if needed for school.
Know the school. Find out whether the teacher prefers to communicate by phone, e-mail, or written note. Know what your child is expected to learn in her grade level. Familiarize yourself with the information on the school website. Note the phone numbers for checking school closures or reporting absences. Find out the procedure for taking your child out of school early. Read the school handbook and make sure your child understands the rules, routines, and procedures. Review the school’s federal “report card”.
Plan transportation and after school. Practice getting to school with your child.If he will be riding the bus, make sure he knows where and when to be picked up before and after school.
If transportation to and from school is a bicycle review road safety and make sure he has a helmet. If your child will be walking to school, walk the route together and review pedestrian safety guidelines. Arrange a carpool if necessary and introduce your child to the other adults and children. Compile contact information of parents, guardians, or daycare providers who will be responsible for picking up your child. Arrange child care or after-school activities. Choose extracurricular activities carefully to avoid over scheduling. Make sure your child knows where to go and how he will be picked up after school each day.
If you manage these things first, you and your child will be well on your way to a great school year kick-off! As a parent/guardian, you want this great start to last all year. Believe me, so does your child, his teachers, and school administrators. Making a great beginning last all year depends a lot on you as a parent. Get involved whenever possible.Mark school events on the family calendar. Attend the back-to-school open house activities and attend programs. Schedule and attend parent-teacher conferences. do some unscheduled drop-ins if you can. Meet leaders of the parent-teacher group and volunteer whenever possible. You’ll be glad you did!!
Have a GREAT school year!