Back to School: 5 Tips for Parents


School bus with children

Back to School Courtesy of: woodleywonderworks

The shift from a carefree summer to the structure and demands of a typical school day can be a difficult adjustment for some children. As the “Back-to-School” sales begin, now is the time to start preparing your child for these upcoming changes. Here are some tips to help your child successfully begin a new school year.


1. Make a calendar with your child highlighting the first day of school

Children vary in the levels of structure and consistency that they need to navigate a typical day. However, most children function best when they can predict upcoming events. A calendar is a great way for children to visually count down and prepare for a change. Post the calendar in a central location in your home where your child can cross off days and keep track of the first day of school.

2. Involve your child in “Back-to-School” shopping

The more decisions that children are able to make, the more in control they feel during upcoming changes. Allowing your child to choose a new backpack or lunchbox can help her feel more confident and excited about going back to school. Many schools provide parents with a list of supplies that students will need for the upcoming year. Your child may enjoy going to the store with you and checking off the items from the list. When children are involved in decisions from the beginning, they tend to take more ownership in the outcome– in this case, heading back to school.

3. Talk with your child about school

Talking with your child is a great way to build anticipation for a new school year. Conversations with your child about the upcoming school year can also ease anxiety over the unknown. Here are some questions to help get this conversation started.

  1. What do you think will be fun about __ grade?
  2. What do you think you will learn in __ grade?
  3. What do you think will be the best part about being in __ grade?

Communicating with your child about things to look forward to in school can create a healthy outlook that will benefit your child when that first day comes.

4. Read books with your child

There are a number of children’s books about going back to school. A visit to your local library will, no doubt, yield a variety of books from which to choose. Depending on the interests and age of your child there are back to school books featuring the Berenstain Bears, Amelia Bedelia, Curious George, Mallory, and even Rotten Ralph. Reading books with children is a fun way to prepare them for the challenges of going back to school.

5. Adjust your child’s schedule before school starts

Summer is often accompanied by less stringent bedtimes. It is important to create waking up and going to bed routines that are consistent with the new school year. One to two weeks prior to the first day of school, adjust your child’s schedule to match the times that he or she will need to wake up and go to bed during the school year. This will help your child’s body to naturally prepare for the first day of school.

Going back to school can be an exciting time for children…and parents! The first day of school often sets the tone for the remainder of the year. With a little planning, you can help your child succeed on the first day of school.


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