10 Ways to Prepare your Child for the New School Year

Whether we like it or not, summer is coming to an end.  Soon it will be Labor Day, with the new school year right around the corner!  Whether your child is starting school for the first time, transferring to a new school, or simply beginning a new year with some different classmates, it’s important to help them prepare for a year of new experiences.  We took a look at what experts across the web had to say – from parents.com to education.com – and created a list of 10 things you can do to help your child get ready for a new year:

10waystoprepare

1. Review your child’s schedule with him or her before the first day.  Discuss which teachers she has, who else she may know in her classes, etc.  If possible, take her to the school at the end of the summer to walk through and stop at each classroom she’ll be using.  Having a general idea of the layout of the halls will help put her at ease before the first day.

2. Talk to your child about his or her feelings about the new year.  Get him excited, but also pay attention to his worries and concerns.  Hopefully, you’ll be able to put him at ease about some of these feelings before the new year begins.  If you share amy of his concerns, talk to school administrators to get answers and plan for success.

3. Let your child know she isn’t alone!  Every kid is apprehensive about starting a new school or beginning new classes.  Tell her about your own feelings before starting school and let her know what happened.  If she is worried about a specific situation – starting a sport, having a hard teacher, etc. – relate it to a similar instance in your own life, and how it worked out!

4. If your son or daughter is starting a new school, work with the teacher or school office to link him up with another child for the beginning of the year.  If he is already planning on joining soccer, art club, etc., try to find someone with similar interests.  (Many schools already have “buddy systems” like this in place, you just have to ask!)

5. Prepare your kids for the school schedule a couple weeks in advance.  Although it may be silly to have kids wake up as early in the summer as they’ll have to for school, getting them back on track as the new year approaches is important!  Ease them back into their bedtime, serve meals at regular times, and schedule activities that will get them up earlier.  They may resist at first, but you’ll be happy they aren’t exhausted the first week of school.

6. Build excitement by letting your child pick out her own school supplies.  By choosing his or her own backpack, lunchbox, notebooks, folders, etc., she will both enjoy using them, and feel more in control of her school experience.  Research stores with the best deals ahead of time – Staples and Walmart are great – so price doesn’t get in the way.  Even on a tight budget, you can choose items on sale, but let your child choose the color or design.

7. Get younger kids ready for the type of projects they will encounter in preschool or kindergarten by coloring with them, reading, and teaching them basic skills like counting and writing their names.  As your kids get older, make sure they’ve completed any summer assignments like reading, math worksheets, etc.

8. Have the “everybody’s different” talk with your child before he or she meets new teachers and classmates.  This is especially important for younger children who have spent the majority of their time with you and the rest of your family and friends.  Keep it simple, but make sure they are prepared for people of different cultures, backgrounds and beliefs.  Let them know it’s alright to be friends with kids who seem different from them!

9. Even with your busy schedule, it’s important to make time for back to school events like parent/teacher conferences, back to school nights, and parent meetings for sports and clubs.  Check in with your child’s teachers and coaches to make sure he is on track.  Remember, even if your son or daughter says everything is fine, it’s always better to check in yourself.  A good parent-teacher relationship is important for his or her success, especially for younger students!

10.  Give it time!  No matter how much you prepare, a new school year is an adjustment for any student.  If the first couple weeks are rough, hang in there.  Don’t be afraid to tweak your daily routine, carpool arrangements, or other plans to make the year easier for your child and family!

Best of luck in the new school year!

-The Savvy Staff

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