Start the School Year off Right!

Whether this is your first year sending a child off to school or you’re an old pro, it’s always helpful to learn how others are handling the shift from laid back summer days to regimented school schedules. Read on for the tips and tricks that parents and teachers use to help get their kids and students off to a good start.


 From parents

We get way off a bedtime routine during the summer with late nights and sleeping in. It’s nice to take the week before school to ease back into the school schedule. I start to have the kids go to bed a little earlier and wake up earlier the days leading up to school. This helps prevent such a drastic change in our sleep pattern. It’s good for all of us to get back to a routine. – Donna, mom of three

This is a tip I learned from another mom who had a young child like mine who tends to get a little anxious about the start of a new school year. Find a small smooth stone your child can keep in their pocket – anytime he or she feels upset about something, they can rub their worry into the stone. At the end of the day, have them wash all the day’s worries away by rinsing their stone in the sink. This can give kids a concrete way to handle an intangible idea like anxiety. – Susanne, mom of two

Designate a consistent spot for everyday items and establish a routine for getting things back in place at the end of each day. It’s especially helpful for families of multiple children to purchase water bottles, lunch bags, chargers, backpacks and even towels and toothbrushes in a specific color for each child. This helps kids keep track of their own gear. It also helps parents to tell at a glance who left the backpack in the van, the wet towel on the floor or whose toothbrush is dry as a bone when everyone claims to have brushed! When a child does lose something, have them go with you when you must buy a replacement (or even chip in for the cost.) Involving kids in the process helps them develop responsibility and (hopefully) be more careful with their things. – Wendy, mom of four

My strategy for a smooth start to the school year is to actually do all the prep at the end of the previous school year, completing it by late May/early June. I take inventory and purchase any needed school uniform items, textbooks, lunch boxes, water bottles and backpacks (usually on sale) by late May. This method allows me to enjoy our summer break right up until the day school starts. There is no panicked scramble for supplies when everyone else is shopping for the same thing. – Holly, mom of two

From teachers

I encourage parents to be open minded about teachers and student peers at the start of a new school year. Let the year unfold without preconceived judgement based on the comments of other parents or past experiences. Hope for the best, and it may turn out to be a magical year for your child! – Emily, elementary teacher and mom of three

As a parent, it is a delicate balance between teaching your child the importance of self-advocating while still remaining involved in their learning. Create an open line of communication with your child’s teachers early in the school year, but don’t forget to include your child. The first step should always be the student approaching the teacher for assistance or clarification. This can sometimes be uncomfortable for adolescent children but is critical in teaching them how to be responsible for their own success. Most importantly, remember that your child’s education is a three-way partnership between you, your child and your child’s teachers. – Cindy, sixth grade teacher and mom of two

This is a small thing, but for very young children, work on having them learn to tie their shoes. This is not a skill that is taught in school and something that every child eventually needs to learn. Even though this may seem like a simple task to adults, a young child can feel great pride when he or she can tie their shoes all by themselves! – Kami, first grade teacher and mom of one

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