With the start of a new school year just around the corner, you might be experiencing the onset of a small back to school panic attack. Take a few deep breaths, Mom and Dad. Before you let the end-of-summer blues bring you down, know that THIS year, you’re going to show back-to-school time who’s boss by checking these 7 essential “Pre-Back-To-School” must-dos off your back to school checklist.
1. School Shopping
Ah, yes. The ever-popular ritual of finding and purchasing the newest essential school supplies and must-have trends in fashion. But, don’t forget about all of those lunches you’ll be packing and dinners you’ll be preparing during the school year, too. Take the time to swing by the grocery store once you’ve scoured every last shoe store for those new sneakers that your child, and what appears to be everyone else’s child, “just won’t be able to live without”.
It’s tough to keep track of all of life’s happenings. And, at any moment, you need to be ready for changes. Round up those agendas, school and family calendars, and dry-erase message boards. Record everyone’s weekly and monthly schedules for all to see. Establish a morning and afternoon routine to keep your family on pace with the day. Pack up those pencil box supplies, and zip up those binder-filled backpacks. When you give things a designated place and allow the whole family visibility into the day’s happenings, you’ll find that life at least seems to unfold in a purposeful manner. You got this!
3. Harbor a Homework Hub
Let’s face it, jumping back into the groove of homework time isn’t exactly what your child is most looking forward to for the new school year. However, relieving the hassle of implementing a routine and appropriate ground rules before the year starts, prevents any unnecessary blindsiding. Sit down with your child and include their ideas about what an ideal space might include and what your homework expectations will be when the new year begins.
4. Before and After School Child Care
Morning and afternoon schedules tend to change drastically from summertime to the school year. Do you have a plan for getting your child on the school bus in the morning? Who’s going to watch him or her between the time school is let out and before you get off work? Be sure to make those child care plans now, or consider enrolling your child in an engaging afterschool program at his or her school.
5. Visit the School
How exciting! A new year AND a new school! Are you sitting there sniffing back tears because your baby is starting kindergarten this year? Perhaps your biting your nails because it’s the first year of middle or high school for your child. Whichever the case may be, why not allow you AND your child feel more confident and comfortable about attending a new school. Place a phone call to your school to set up a time to visit and tour the school. Request to see places you’re your child will frequent within the school, like the cafeteria or gymnasium. And, it wouldn’t hurt to ask to meet their new teacher, too. A visit to the new school is a great way to relieve some of those back-to-school jitters.
6. Sleeping and Eating Patterns
A good rule of thumb recommends a smooth transition, 1-2 weeks before school starts, back into your family’s school-year sleeping and eating routines. Summertime often permits late nights and sleeping in, and unscheduled eating habits. You’ll want to be sure to reinforce those curfews and bedtimes, and daily meal practices before the first week back to school.
7. Communication Corner
Last, but certainly not least, maintain your day-to-day sanity from balancing multiple schedules by collecting and organizing all important contact information for everyone involved in your family’s daily interactions and extracurriculars. Yes, that includes the babysitter, the classroom teacher, the soccer coach, the school, your spouse’s work, the family doctor, etc. You want to be kept in the loop and also have this information at your fingertips in any event that might warrant your quick connection with important contacts.