Back to School Tips

Organize Your Back-to-School NeedsHere’s a relaxing idea… how about screeching in from the late August beach vacation to throw backpacks on your kids and rush them to the bus stop for the first day of school? Hmm, on second thought, you could follow our handy dandy back-to-school tips and send your child off well-prepared to launch into a great new year. Yep, we’d choose door #2 as well.

Turn off the TV. While the click of a button may seem more exciting than the turning of a page, having your child engage less in TV and video games and more in reading will reap great benefits come late August. As opposed to passive early morning activities, encourage your child to do puzzles, design crafts, or play outdoors. It’ll not only give them a summer to remember, but will ease them back into the routine of mental stimulation that comes with a new school year. We love media too, but it’s best kept to a minimum all year.

Buy school supplies. Most schools will send out a supply list beforehand. While none of the essentials should be overlooked, there’s no need to splurge on the latest gadgets. Before heading to the store, scrounge around your house to find any pencils, rulers, or backpacks that are in good condition and can be used. When going through the store, make sure you keep a copy of the list close at hand and check off what you already have in the cart. If you have multiple children darting around and tossing in supplies, it’s easy to end up accidentally buying seven packs of colored pens.

Fill out the wardrobe. As far as clothes go, because it’s still summer, focus only on buying hot weather clothes. Let’s face it, kids grow fast and may not fit into the warmer clothes you pick out in a couple of months. Have your child go through her closet and pull out anything that she can no longer wear. Then, make sure she has enough shirts, shorts, under garments and shoes to get her through the season. When shopping, only do so to fill in the gaps, not start a new wardrobe.

Establish the routine. Where will the kids put their backpacks and lunchboxes? What are approved after-school snack choices? Where will they do their homework? Before the year begins, have your kids join you and literally walk through the after-school routine. Show them where to put their backpacks and lunchboxes, and create a space for them to do homework. This could be a desk in their room, a cleared off kitchen table, or an extra office space. Also, make them aware of any additional rules such as TV and video game limits, as well as when they should do their homework. On that note, studies show that children are most successful when beginning their homework shortly after arriving home from school.

Check out the school. Even if your child has attended the school in the past, it is vital to kick off the school year with a campus visit beforehand. If possible, attend an open house. This will let your child see his new classroom and interact with the teacher and fellow classmates. This would also be a good time for you to get to know the teacher and build a comfortable relationship with her for the upcoming year. While you’re there, show your child the way. If he has class changes, walk him through his schedule one or two times. Having you there will foster security, so he can avoid the fear of getting lost on the first day of school.

Contact the teacher. A quick note or email to the person who will be with your child every day for the next year can’t hurt. It’s best that he knows about any general challenges or specific needs your child has, and request that he openly approach you about your child’s behavior and progress. Let him know that you are excited about the upcoming year, and perhaps offer to assist with classroom parties or events. Doing so will help foster the relationship between parent, teacher, and child, so everyone can have a relaxed, successful school year.

Ahhh... Now would be the time to kick back, relax, and feel confident about the school year ahead. And remember that, in addition to these 6 helpful tips, you have SignUpGenius in your tool belt as well! For every parent-teacher conference, class party, or field trip that the busy parent needs to organize, SignUpGenius is here to keep things relaxed and simple!