Every time the new school year rolls around, I'm completely amazed (and a little bummed) at how fast the summer goes. My kids are ready to learn and they're already getting caught up in the excitement of new school supplies and new lunch boxes and new teachers. See also they're already getting the first day jitters even though we still have more than three weeks left on our summer break. Getting organized and forming a positive relationship with our new teachers are at the top of our getting ready for back-to-school list. Here are 5 tips to help your child (and you!) start the new school year off on the right foot.
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5 Tips for starting off the new school year
1. Be Prepared
This means you, too, parents. Attend a school orientation so your child (and you!) can meet and greet the new teacher as well as the non-teaching staff and school administrators. This will help your kids feel comfortable when they walk into school the first day. Even if your child is returning to the same school, having that little meet and greet before the first day of school can ease the jitters. You might be trying to squeeze the last bit of juice out of summer vacation but really make it a priority to get to that orientation, if it's offered.
Also? If you have questions for the teacher, ask what her preferred method of communication is and reach out later. Don't bombard her with questions when she's trying to meet all the new students and their families. Your new teacher wants to get to know your child and your family but it's a busy and often stressful time for her, too, so keep that in mind.
Make sure you get your school supplies well in advance of the start of school…or whenever you're supposed to drop them off. Our students are encouraged to take their haul of school supplies to school orientation (AKA Meet the Teacher Night) so they won't have to drag a gazillion glue sticks and crayons with them the first day. Every other family around will be shopping for the same school supplies, so get yours early or buy online. Last-minute running around town for blue plastic folders with pockets and brads isn't fun.
2. Get into the Routine
A few days before the first day of school (a week is even better) start thinking about your first week of school routine. If you've slacked off on bedtimes during summer (raises hand) then you're probably going to have to start cracking down. Spoiler alert: No one will like this.
Plan for time to pack lunches the night before, laying out clothes and all of that other fun stuff that might not be part of your routine during the summer. Getting into the groove of planning the next day's outfits, going to bed earlier, and packing lunches takes some time to adjust to but getting a jump on that early bedtime will help a lot.
On the first of school make sure your child gets a good breakfast with balanced protein and carbs to give them plenty of energy for the first day of the new school year. Obviously, a nutritious breakfast is important every day but the first day of school is just a little bit special, right?
3. A Couple Important Things to Pack
If you need to send your child with forms on the first day (such as request for emergency contact and medical info) make sure you get them filled out and in the backpack, along with whatever else you're supposed to send, such as a change of clothes or a light sweater for chilly classrooms.
Although it's not necessary to take the teacher a back-to-school gift, thoughtfulness never goes unappreciated. A gift card to a local coffee shop or book store is always appreciated, as are gift cards to office supply stores of bundles of extra school supplies. We buy our school supplies in bulk online so we start the year with extras. I like to pass on a few of those to the teacher to round out her supply closet or allow her to help a student who might be missing some items off the supply list. The most important thing, however, is showing up with a good attitude and being ready to learn!
By the time the first day of the new school year rolls around, you've probably already got your transportation plan in place. Make sure your children understand how they will get to and from school. Will they walk or ride their bikes or will you drive or carpool? If they ride the bus, there are probably new bus stops and timetables to get used to. Go over the new routine with your child, even if nothing has changed since last year.
If your child is able to connect with any of their classmates ahead of time, this can go a long way to ease the first-day jitters. Another plus is that you'll have another parent to exchange info with and maybe socialize with, which is a win. Make getting to know your child's teachers and the school staff at a priority. The first week of school probably isn't the best time to have a heart-to-heart about your plan for your child's education, although by all means, don't be afraid to insist that a chat about critical issues happen ASAP.
These are just a few ways you can prepare your student for the new school year. A little planning can go a long way!
Will you be joining your school’s parent-teacher organization? It's a great way to stay involved and in the know! Follow Money Minder for tips and ideas this school year. And be sure to explore our productivity software offerings: MoneyMinder Accounting, MemberTracker Membership Software (free) & BudgetBuilder Budget Software (free).