Ten Things To Do Before School Starts

It's back to school time and even though I don't have my own school to go back to, I always get excited for this time of year.  I love shopping for school supplies and my thoughts go back to buying my fall clothing.  I love the winding down of summer and all the goodies fall has to offer.  I don't like to rush the season but still...

Here are ten things I believe will help you, as parents, make an easier transition to school.  

1.  Together with your student, write a list of all the fun activities you did this summer.  Students are often asked to write about their summer or to write about some activity. This will provide that "I don't know what to write about" topic for your student.

2.  Get supplies that are on the school supplies list.  If you can, buy extras for your second half of school.  Your child will find it easier to return to school in December with a fresh box of crayons and new pencils!

3.  With your child, create five outfits that both of you can agree on.  Take a snapshot with your phone and print them out.  Hang on your student's closet door.  This way your student can get dressed without worrying about your approval in the mornings.

4.  Plan your lunches.  Students do well with a routine, so don't think you have to be the mom who packs gourmet lunches for your student.  Make a list of sandwiches, veggies, fruits and snacks that can be mixed and matched.  Let your student make a lunch of one item from each category.  No matter if the lunch is a little odd, if they picked it out, they will probably eat it!

5.  Return to going to bed at a specific time routine.  It is easier on your student if bedtime gets back to normal before school starts.  The One-Last-Fling should happen well before school starts.  

6.  Have a conversation about your behavior expectations at school.  Tell your child how you want them to handle someone who makes fun of them, who lies to them, who takes their spot at lunch, who pushes them at recess.  Role play the various situations, problem solve and teach your child how to make snap decisions they won't regret.

7.  Go to Back-to-School night but don't plan to have a long conversation with the teacher.  Plan to take your supplies, find your desk, meet your teacher, and greet the others in your class.  Even if your child has special needs, make another appointment to discuss those with your student's teacher.  Keep Back-to-School night fun and light.  Go for ice cream afterwards!

8. Plan a neighborhood get together for the kids and parents.  Decide as a neighborhood what you can do to keep the kids safe at the bus stop.  Do you need a cross walk mom?  Does a dad need to stand close by?  Who is going to confront speeders on your street?  

9.  Create a homework space for your child. Stock it with things that your student will need to do homework. Have a timer close by, allow your child a few minutes to unwind before starting homework.  Set the timer for 10 minutes, and once the timer goes off, then settle down to do the work.  Set the timer for 10 minutes for each grade level (6th grade times 10 minutes = 60 minutes).  

10.  Select your student's after school activities wisely.  Overbooking a child can lead to stress and frustration.  Choose an activity that helps your child build on a strength or teaches them a new skill or creates a lifelong hobby.

If you are a special needs parent, you will want to review your student's IEP or 504 plan.  If there are confusing or conflicting items, call school and schedule an appointment with the teacher, principal or counselor.  Do this before school starts in order to clear up any confusion before school starts.

This school year will be the best year ever!

Terri Steffes
Terri Steffes

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