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5 Ways To Prepare Your Child For Back To School

Summer break is almost over, and preparing to return to school can be an exciting yet anxious time for children. Many children will be attending school formerly from the first time, some children will be attending transitioning to a new school and others will be moving to a new school; different experiences will require different preparations. Whatever the circumstance of going to school after summer break, getting ready may create unwanted anxieties, mixed feelings, and--for some--unanswered questions. Just as children experience anxiety in preparing for school, some parents experience anxiety as well for the upcoming school year. Here are tips to help prepare you and your child to return to school from summer break. 
 
1. Start early developing routines. Do not wait until the last minute to change your child’s summertime bedtime. At least two weeks prior to school starting, set a bedtime routine for your child that will remain the same during the school year. Make them aware of the standing nightly bedtime. Be sure the bedtime routine is preceded by turning off the television and electronic devices well before the established bedtime hour. 

 
Have a conversation with your child regarding homework expectations. You may consider requiring them to complete homework assignments during an afterschool program. You may express to your child that homework should be completed before they turn on any electronic devices. Establish a routine that works best for you. And don’t forget to establish a routine to review homework with your child that will reinforce the expectation of completion. 
 
2. Make the first day the best day. Getting ready for the first day of school does not start on the first day of school. Take time prior to the first day to make a list of questions that you may have for your school, especially if your child will be attending a new one Many of your questions may be answered by visiting the school’s website. 
 
Two weeks prior to school opening contact your school to find out your child’s new teacher and what school supplies will be needed to help your child to be successful for the school year. If this information is not readily available, you may certainly want to be sure to attend Open House. 
 
Finally, if this is a new school for your child, have a conversation with them about the positive activities and accomplishments that have taken place in previous years at their new school. Remind your child that they will not be the only new student in the school on the first day. You may even want to rehearse with your child how to meet new friends and introduce themselves on the first day.  
 
3. Develop study habits for the new school year. Learning to work at home independently is often challenging for students. When study habits are developed early on, the probability of developing consistent sustaining study habits are increased. With your child’s help, designate a place in your home that is suitable for study time. Encourage your child early on to discover the most suitable environment to study.  Be sure to establish an environment that is well-lit with minimal distractions. Summer break is almost over, and preparing to return to school can be an exciting yet anxious time for children. Many children will be attending school formerly from the first time, some children will be attending transitioning to a new school and others will be moving to a new school; different experiences will require different preparations. Whatever the circumstance of going to school after summer break, getting ready may create unwanted anxieties, mixed feelings, and--for some--unanswered questions. Just as children experience anxiety in preparing for school, some parents experience anxiety as well for the upcoming school year. Here are tips to help prepare you and your child to return to school from summer break. 
 
There may be occasions where your child may feel the need to study in groups. Working in groups can often help children to better understand a particular concept and can enable students to complete assignments more quickly than when your child works alone. Be sure to keep the study groups small and your child should have a clear understanding of expectations for the study group session to maximize benefits. 
 
4. Help your child organize. Developing organizational skills can be paramount in the success of your child’s new school year. Some children are naturally organized, while others need their parent’s help in becoming and remaining organized throughout the school year. Helping your child to organize may begin with encouraging a check-list of “to-do” items for school assignments and tasks. Your child may keep a separate notebook, small notepad, or utilize an app to keep up with tasks that are due. Help them to understand the benefits of crossing out the tasks as they are completed. 
 
Encouraging children to be responsible for turning in assignments in a timely manner will be a positive character trait that can be utilized in many other aspects of their life. 
 
5. Make preparations for the next day. Getting prepared for the next day the night before can ensure the rush of the morning is eliminated. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to assist or encourage them to prepare for the next day. Designate a time before bed for your child to pack their book bags, ensure they have packed their homework, pack their lunch, and any other necessary tasks. 
 
You may also want to consider using the preparation for the next day as time to talk to your child. This time may be used to engage with them to gauge if all is well without invasive questioning. 
 
Back to school can be a joyous time when proper preparations have been made prior to the big first day. Preparations can be the very experience to lessen nervousness for both the parent and the child. A new school, a new teacher, coupled with new friends and new experiences, can actually mean new smiles for your children when approached in a positive way.
Dr. Kimberly Mobley serves as the Early Childhood Education Manager at GPB. She oversees and manages the GPB Ready to Learn and Family Engagement Initiative. Most recently, Kimberly served as Curriculum Assistant Principal for middle grades... more