By GreatSchools Staff
Who wants to think about school in the middle of summer? It may be tough but the best way to be prepared for a successful school year is to plan well in advance. Getting set for school involves much more than buying supplies — it means being academically prepared, supporting a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition and enough sleep, and making sure your family and your child are organized for the year ahead.
To simplify the process, we've broken it down into easy steps for you. On your mark, get set, go!
If your child isn't an avid reader, get her back in the swing of reading at least a month before school starts. It doesn't matter what she reads — it can be books, magazines, comics — but the important thing is to get in the habit of reading daily well before school begins.
Many libraries have summer reading programs, particularly for elementary school students. They provide fun incentives to keep your child engaged in reading.
Kathy Glass, a California middle school teacher, educational consultant and author focusing on curriculum and instruction, suggests "Students and parents can access the American Library Association Web site to find books that have won literary awards like the Caldecott and Newbery, and also a list of notable books to read."
Check out these articles on GreatSchools.org to find ways to encourage reading:
With the lazy days of summer, it's easy to let good eating habits and sleep schedules slide. But getting the right nutrition and the right amount of sleep are both important for your budding student.
Health experts at the Harvard School of Public Health recommend eating nine servings (about 4 ½ cups) of fruits and vegetables a day. That means including fruits and vegetables at every meal - and in between, too! Fruit slices and carrot and celery sticks make good snacks and are easy to take along in the car or on summer outings. The health benefits of eating lots of fruits and vegetables include lower blood pressure; reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and probably some cancers.
Make sure your child is in the habit of eating a good breakfast well before the start of school. Look for breakfast cereals that have little to no sugar and contain whole grains such as oats, bran and whole cornmeal. Choose whole wheat bread for sandwiches and whole wheat pasta for your next spaghetti feed. These healthy eating habits will help prevent heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Lemonade, juice and soda are all big sources of sugar and empty calories. It's tempting during the summer to reach for these to quench your child's thirst. In preparation for back to school, promote good health habits by switching to low-fat or nonfat milk and water as healthy alternatives. It's time to cut back on other summer treats like ice cream and French fries, too. Good alternatives are easy-to-make fruit pops, smoothies, and these healthy snacks.
Check the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Source for more healthy eating ideas.
Children ages 5 to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep and teens need nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Sleep deprivation can affect cognitive skills and academic achievement. A continuing lack of sleep is linked to serious health problems including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression and a shortened life span.
It's easy to fall into a relaxed bedtime schedule during the summer but it's a good idea to gradually change the summer routine well before school starts. To avoid bedtime battles as the beginning of school approaches, try moving bedtime earlier by 10 or 15 minutes each week, beginning three weeks before school starts. Encourage your child to start getting up earlier, too.
"Most important in changing the sleep schedule is to get your child up on time. You can be less concerned about getting them to bed on time as research shows getting them up is key to making the shift," says Laurence Steinberg, professor of psychology at Temple University, and author of You and Your Adolescent and The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting.
Learn more about the importance of sleep for school success:
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.