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Back-to-School: Suggestions to Help Prepare for a Great Year

It is almost time to see the yellow buses rambling down the road, making stops to pick up children who eagerly anticipate a new school year. With life returning to normal, it seems as though families can look forward to a more traditional school year this fall.

As we leave remote learning behind and plan for students to be back in classrooms, here is a back-to-school checklist to help make sure your child is prepared for the first day of school.

School supplies

Most teachers post the school supplies needed for their class online or send information to parents and students via email or snail mail. Review the list and check your home inventory before heading out to stock up. Buying school supplies before the first day can help your student feel better prepared and add to the excitement of starting school.

School clothes

Chances are high that your child has grown a lot since the beginning of last school year. Take time to go through your child’s closet with him/her and donate all clothing that no longer fits before shopping. For an added lesson, ask your child to make a list of what he/she needs and then give your child a budget. Let your child decide for where to shop and encourage him/her to search for coupons to stretch their budget.

Getting reacquainted with the classroom

A week can seem like a lifetime to a child, so imagine how long it feels since your child has been in a classroom for school. Do not assume that they recall what life is like in a classroom, especially younger children. Talk about what it is like to be in a classroom, how to be respectful of others, typical classroom etiquette and things to look forward to at school. Your child may have forgotten how much fun it is to go to P.E. class or have read-aloud time with the media specialist in the library.

Lunch and snack planning

Good nutrition is vital for children to do their best in school. Sit down with your child and talk about healthy options for lunches and snacks. Encourage him/her to make a grocery list and even go shopping with you. Enlist them to pack or help pack their lunches and snacks so they are involved. Use this exercise as a teachable moment to discuss how we feel after eating healthy foods versus unhealthy foods.

Establish routines early.

Summer is synonymous with little to no routines. While great for the season, lack of structure is not the ideal approach to a school year. Establish good routines with your child including schedules for sleep, homework, chores, play time with friends, screen time and quiet time. Being on the same page with your child regarding routines will help kick the year off right.

Extracurricular activities

Opportunities for extracurricular activities are always exciting for your child, but it is important to discuss which ones are the best fit for timing, interests and family. The pandemic revealed that most families are over scheduled, especially when it comes to activities for children. This is an opportunity to keep a good balance in mind before making too many commitments.

Regular check-ins

Your child is growing and constantly changing on many developmental levels, so what was comfortable and what worked last year may not be the same this year. Have regular conversations with him/her and find out how things are going — what is good, not good, uncomfortable, stressful, etc. If there is a challenging situation, collaborate to form a plan to deal with it so your child will feel supported and know you are always there.

With a little planning, you and your child can easily be prepared to start this school year off right. Here is to a great year!

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