How Early Is Too Early To Start Planning For Back-To-School?
The start of the school year can be an exciting time for children and their parents! While back-to-school activities vary by grade/age, some elements remain the same whether you have a child starting preschool or a child heading off to college. As we look forward to the first day of school here are some important things to remember:
Put your child’s needs first.
This seems obvious, but often we parents operate on autopilot, assuming we know what is best for our son or daughter. Let this time of the year be a reminder to slow down and sit down with our children, ask them how they feel about the coming school year and really hear their concerns and hopes. Info you can discuss and gather from this conversation includes:
- Your child’s level of excitement and/or anxiety around starting the school year
- Any changes for your child—Is this a new school? Is he transitioning from half-day to full day? Will he be taking the bus instead of walking?
- How familiar is your child with his new teacher and classmates? This is a great time have conversations with other parents and older students who are familiar with your child’s soon-to-be-teacher and ask about their experiences.
- Your child’s feelings about school in general and his/her experiences from last year. Often children who had a negative experience from last year will be more anxious as the first day draws closer. If the ghost of school years past are haunting your child, take time to break down last year’s difficulties to make this year more enjoyable. After all, it is a fresh start!
Once you have had a conversation with your child around the upcoming school year, look into the activities listed below for helpful and age-appropriate activities to prepare for the start of school…
- Attending the school’s open house/back to school night
- Go shopping for school supplies
- Get a copy of your child’s schedule
- Get a map of the school
- Adjust bedtime and wake-up times gradually, starting about a week before school starts
- Arrange playdates with your child and any classmates he knows, giving a chance to get reacquainted if they haven’t seen much of each other over the summer
- Check your email/school website for any changes
- Make sure any summer assignments (reading, etc) are finished
Best wishes on an awesome first day of school and positive kick-off to the year!