It’s that time of year once again, a time when parents rejoice and kids groan. That’s right – it’s back to school time. But before you breakout the backpacks and the pencils, ask yourself this question – are you and your child fully prepared for the year ahead? Here’s how to get you and your child ready for back-to-school.
Find out about your child’s school – Whether your child is returning to the same school or starting at a new one, it’s always a good idea to get the lowdown on any changes at the school. Is there a new principal? Who are your child’s teachers? What’s going on with the curriculum? What tests will be administered to your child? As most school districts start in September, schools tend to be open a month before. You can call the school directly and speak with an administrator, or visit the school for information. You may also be able to check on a website or webpage for extra info.
Get your child into the back-to-school routine – During the summer, staying up late and sleeping in are the norm. But as the start of school draws near, children need to get back into a routine. About three weeks before school starts, have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier at night and get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. When school is two weeks away, have your child go to bed 30 minutes earlier at night and get up thirty minutes earlier in the morning. When your child is about to start school in a week, having him/her go to bed an hour earlier at night and get up an hour earlier in the morning. By developing a bedtime routine, your child will be less resistant to the early morning wake-up calls to get ready for school. In addition, if you’re not already doing this, have your child lay out his clothes before he goes to bed. That will teach him to get organized and be prepared in case he (or you) are running late in the morning.
Go over the three R’s – Regardless if you’re a teacher or not, we all have knowledge to pass on to our kids. What were your strengths in school? Reading? Writing? Science? Math? Whatever your favorite subject, use what you’ve learned in school and in life to go over some of the basics with your child. In essence, you can “play” school with your child. It should be in a room without distractions (i.e. no TV or video games) and geared towards learning (i.e. den, family library or home office). A run through of the basics should take no more than 30 minutes to an hour and should be done 2-3 times a week. This is an excellent opportunity to see where your child needs help and to pass that information on to his teachers.
Prepare the supplies – Depending on your child’s grade level (K0-12), the type of supplies needed will vary. Some schools send a list out a couple of weeks before the school year. If no such list is provided, what your child needs for school can be determined by a trip to OfficeMax, Staples or Wal-Mart. Every August, those stores provide free school supply lists for their customers. They’re pretty concise and arranged by grade level. You can again contact the school directly to see what supplies your child will need.
Plan to meet and greet – The first day of school has arrived. This is a big day for you and your child. This is the time to go with your child on his first day and introduce yourself to the teachers. As your child settles into his classroom, you can have a quick sidebar with the teacher to find out who he is and what he’s planning to teach your child. Be sure to exchange contact information with the teacher. The teacher should provide you with a copy of a lesson plan or syllabus that gives you the gist of what will be taught in class. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of everyone you meet. You and the teachers should work together for the benefit of your child.
When you visit your child’s school, be sure to get a tour of the building. Be aware of the exits and all the facilities your child may come into contact with.
As you get your child into the back-to-school routine, always make room for adjustments. With summer vacation still in session, there may be days where you and your child are attending events or hanging out with friends.
Take advantage of summer prep programs. They generally start in July and run until mid-August. Some are free or low-cost and keep the students in a “learning is fun” atmosphere. If you can’t get into a program, nothing beats your neighborhood library. Libraries often run free tutoring sessions and have fun academic events for parents and children.
In addition to school supplies, don’t forget the gear. But don’t spend too much time at the mall before the start of school. Your child only needs one or two outfits in preparation for the big day. Your child will be looking at the outfits of his peers and will want to get his clothes that first weekend after the start of school. Stores are aware of this and will have deep discounts ready for anxious parents and their style-conscious kids.
As you meet with teachers, don’t forget the guidance counselor. That person will be another key ally for you and your child. Guidance counselors have access to all of your child’s academic records. They also have knowledge of programs to help your child in and out of school. They’re also trained to provide basic counseling services to your child if he is having problems in school.
Remember, as the school year progresses, your child will be under a lot of pressure from teachers, friends, and administrators. Be there for support, guidance, and a resource as your child goes through his school year.
Source: WikiHow (http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Your-Child-Ready-for-Back-To-School)