With school on the horizon, try these tips to ease the transition from a summer of relaxation to a year of hitting the books. Getting the school year started right can improve a child’s confidence and outlook on the entire year.
The National Association of School Psychologists offers these tips:
—Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health. Schedule doctor and dental checkups early. Discuss any concerns you have over your child’s emotional or psychological development with your pediatrician.
—Review the material sent by the school as soon as it arrives. These packets include important information about your child’s teacher, room number, school supply requirements, sign ups for after school sports and activities, school calendar dates, bus transportation, health and emergency forms, and volunteer opportuni-ties.
—Mark your calendar. Make a note of important dates, especially back-to-school nights. This is especially important if you have children in more than one school and need to juggle obligations. Arrange for a baby-sitter now, if necessary.
—Make copies of all your child’s health and emergency information for reference. Health forms are typically good for more than a year and can be used again for camps, extracurricular activities, and the following school year.
—Try to get the supplies as early as possible and fill the backpacks a week or two before school starts. Older children can help do this, but make sure they use a checklist that you can review. Some teachers require specific supplies, so save receipts for items that you may need to return later.
—Plan to re-establish the bedtime and mealtime routines (especially breakfast) at least 1 week before school starts.
—Designate and clear a place to do homework. Older children should have the option of studying in their room or a quiet area of the house. Younger children usually need an area set aside in the family room or kitchen to facilitate adult monitoring, supervision, and encouragement.
—Select a spot to keep backpacks and lunch boxes. Designate a spot for your children to place their school belongings as well as a place to put important notices and information sent home for you to see. Explain that emptying their backpack each evening is part of their responsibility, even for young children.
—Freeze a few easy dinners. It will be much easier on you if you have dinner prepared so that meal preparation will not add to household tensions during the first week of school.
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