Back to School Prep Already?

Use these tips to prepare for a return to school after summer and breaks

This July, I found an advertisement for a back-to-school sale in my mailbox. I knew these flyers would be coming, but I certainly didn’t expect them that early! Why anticipate the beginning of school just minutes after the previous school year has ended?!

Nevertheless, it got me thinking (which is why I dread those July mailings) about the upcoming fall. After some consideration, I came up with a list of ideas to help my son (and others) prepare for the first days of school.

1. Allow for the much-needed down time before embarking on “Operation School Prep.” Just because Target is preparing now, doesn’t mean you have to! Then again, don't get caught with an empty aisle, either!

2. Visit the school and playground. Once closer to the first day, consider asking for an opportunity to see the classroom or building. Also, ask about any “meet the teacher” activities that might be scheduled.

3. Respect your child’s level of comfort with shopping for clothes & school supplies. I have found shopping on line saves a lot of time and energy. In terms of the dreaded supply list, it is critical to see if the items will “belong” to your child or be shared by all. This prevents any confusion or desire to select “special” pencils or a larger set of watercolors.

4. Begin to eat lunch at home close to the school lunch time. For my son, this will help tremendously!

5. Be up front with the school about previous school issues, but there is no need to list every infraction. If you are experiencing a new school, ask to meet with the principal to share strengths, concerns, and strategies.

6. Resist the urge to email the teacher before school starts! Instead, send a card wishing her a great new school year. It doesn’t hurt to include a small gift card.

7. Start re-establishing bedtime routines earlier vs. later in August.

8. Expect some level of stress and anxiety. Ask what questions your child is most concerned about. You might be able to get some answered ahead of time.

9. Begin to slowly build up stamina for academics. If the reading expectation is 20 minutes in second grade, start in early August at 5 minutes and work up to it.

10. Once school begins, clear the social schedule for several weeks. This allows for plenty of recovery time after school and extra down time on the weekends

11. There will be some challenging days. Be ready to be the sounding board for those tougher days.

12. Finally, put a supportive note in your child’s backpack or lunch. It could be just the kind words he needs on a rough day!

Does this list ensure success? Not necessarily, but I believe that these things will help for a smoother transition. What will be on your back to school list?


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