It’s been a few years since I have been directly involved with getting my own children ready for the first day of school, as they are older now, yet the memories are quite vivid. Actually, my daughter started this school year as a teacher for the first time, so a very different experience. It was fascinating to hear all that goes on from the teacher’s perspective for a change.
For many readers, getting ready for the new school year has both its burdens and its joys. The one thing it most definitely has more of is structure! No more having kids wake up at noon and staying up late at night. Homework is going to be upon us in just days and paperwork will become the norm again. School lunches, after-school activities, driving kids to and from everywhere…plus schedules, exams, and social pressures! Are you ready?
I have assembled a few bits of advice, from veteran parents (myself included) on getting ready for the new school year, especially the first week.
Determine and write down a schedule for the family for each weekday that all can see
Take advantage of some of the Back-to-School sales going on for supplies such as Staples, Kmart, and other stores in the area and beyond. There are some general supplies that your child will need, and then you will receive a list of specific materials they will need for each class perhaps.
Set up a system and location in your home for:
Receiving papers that arrive from school
Homework areas for each child to work in
Backpack organization—clear it every evening and pack for the next day
Have lunch foods and after-school snacks ready to go for the week so there is no early morning shuffle and stress getting out the door—prepare lunch the night prior for a smoother morning if possible.
Have breakfast foods ready and prepare anything that can be done the night before.
Make and even freeze a few meals for those first few days when everyone is adjusting to the new “old” routine of school days.
Establish the “screen time” rules—when the TV or computer games are off limits and put that in writing so there are no surprises later on.
Give yourself and your children additional time to get ready and get to school so they don’t have that unsettled feeling of being late before they even begin.
If you pick them up—let them know exactly where to meet you—especially young ones who get very anxious if you aren’t right there as soon as they step out of class
Since I have an ADHD child, we did a quick checklist as soon as we got in the car…can I tell you how many times that kid’s shoes were not even on his feet?! There were more than a few times he even pre-dressed for school the night before instead of pajamas (loose fitting things of course) just to reduce the process in the morning.
Plan something fun for the first weekend so everyone has something to look forward to after dealing with a week filled with adjustments, schedules, and invariably some frustration.