In just a few short weeks thousands of local children, parents, and teachers will embark on a brand new school year. While there is a sense of excitement and anticipation in the air, it can be a bittersweet moment for parents regardless of whether your child is starting Kindergarten or college. How do you ensure that you are prepared for the upcoming year? Most parents will agree that the best way is by being well organized and efficient. Read on to find out some of my best tips and ideas for a successful school year.
- Get Supplies: Obtain a supply list for your child’s school and be sure to obtain all of the required supplies on the list prior to the start of the school year. Invest in a good quality back pack especially if you do not plan to replace it during the school year. In addition, when purchasing supplies be sure to have extra supplies on hand to keep at home for homework and various projects. Items such as glue sticks, pencils/pens, and paper should be purchased in additional quantities.
- Organize Their Closet: Pull out all weather appropriate clothing (including shoes) and have your child try all of them on. Clothing that does not fit can be set aside to be sold or donated. Take an inventory and make a list of any items that are still needed and obtain them prior to the start of the year. If you want to be extra ambitious, have your child pick out outfits for the first week of school and set them aside.
- Get Back Into Your Routine: Start (or re-start) your morning and evening routine 1-2 weeks before school starts. This will allow both you and your child to re-assume school year habits much more easily and will give you time to adjust these routines so that they work well for your family’s needs. Be sure that your child is getting enough rest for their age. Typically 8-10 hours of rest is suggested. For younger children, it may be a good idea to create a morning and evening checklist for the tasks that they need to complete each day. Homework, chores, and hygiene tasks should be priorities on the list.
- Study Station: Create a study station in a quiet but convenient location. This station should contain all of the items necessary for your child to complete their studies and a place for them to store their back packs and school supplies. Check out our Back to School board on Pinterest for great tips and ideas on how to create a study station.
- Plan Lunches: Plan your child’s lunches for the first few weeks of school and go grocery shopping. Getting children involved in lunch planning and assembling is a proven strategy for ensuring that they actually eat their lunch. It may be a good idea to create a favorite foods list for each child so that you can be sure to stock up on those foods at the store.
- Photos, Photos, Photos: Be sure to have the camera ready and fully charged. You will want to take plenty of photos to commemorate the occasion. Get your children in on the action by having them create a sign stating which grade they are entering or print these from the computer.
- Update your Calendar: Print or download your school’s academic calendar and use it to fill in your own planner. Add events to your planner such as Back to School Nights, school closings and half days, PTA meetings, etc. This is especially important if you have more than one child or have children attending different schools.
- Encourage your child to join Clubs or Participate In Sports: Encourage your child to become involved in their school especially if they will be starting a new school this upcoming year. School activities are a great way to meet people and develop new friendships with those who share your interests. Most schools do not start team sports until middle school however many elementary schools offer after school activities such as engineering club, running club, and nature club. You will most likely need a physical performed by their pediatrician or family physician before your child is eligible to play any sport.
- Have a Pen Ready: Be prepared to fill out forms…and then more forms. Some schools send packets to your home address with any forms that need to be completed before the official start to the school year. If so, fill them out as soon as you receive them and you will save yourself some time and hassle when the school year starts.
Above all don’t forget to have fun! Remind your kids that learning is a lifelong adventure. Encourage them to try new things, read different books, and seek out new friendships. Someday soon they will look back on these times as fond memories while it may seem like just yesterday for you!!