Gearing Up for a New School Year

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All public schools begin classes on Monday, September 9, which does not leave much time to establish a routine if you haven’t already done so in your home. The beginning of a new school year can be anxiety-inducing for parents and children alike but with a few tweaks to a child’s daily routine and pre-planning for the year ahead, the first days of school can start off without a hitch. Below are some helpful tips from The Children’s Aid Society to remember and put into practice to ensure you get off on the right foot:

Health check. Be sure your child is in good physical and mental health. Schedule checkups early and possibly before the first day of classes. Having your child’s physical exam before the beginning of school is a good way to ensure there are no health-related surprises during the school year, such as poor eye health or dental concerns.

Mark your calendar. Make a note of important dates, especially back-to-school activities and/or parent engagement events. This is especially important if you have children in more than one school and need to make special arrangements.

Stock up. Most schools provide parents with a list of supplies that are needed for the school year ahead during the first few weeks, but it’s always a good idea to stock up on the basics. If this is not your first “back to school,” you may already know what will be requested. Take advantage of sales and stock up on pencils, crayons, rulers and composition books for elementary-aged children. Parents are also asked to supply tissues, hand sanitizers and disinfecting wipes. Some teachers require specific supplies, so save receipts for items that you may need to return later.

School year routine. Before school starts, re-establish your child’s school year bedtime. Its best to start this atleast a week before so that they are not cranky those first days back at school.

Morning activities. Encourage your child to play quiet games or do some light reading in the mornings. This will help your child be better prepared to learn and focus during the school day.

School Visit. If this is a brand new school for your child, take the time to visit the school. Helping your child familiarize him or herself with the school building, classrooms, bathrooms, etc. can help ease anxieties. Call ahead to ensure your child’s teacher will can be available to introduce him or herself to your child. Most teachers are back at school weeks ahead of the start date prepping their classroom and working on lesson plans.

Homework spot. This area can be in the family room or kitchen. Its best to keep younger children close by because they often need encouragement and help. 

Talk it out. Going back to school to a new class and teacher can be pretty stressful for children. Set aside some time to check-in with your child.  If there is anything of particular concern, don't hesitate to call your child’s pediatrician, who can help determine what worries are age-appropriate.

Always be enthusiastic and excited about the first day of school and every school day after that. To parents and children, best of luck and have a happy, healthy school year!