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HomeBack to SchoolBack-to-School Prep

Nine steps to a smart start

With a little planning, you can make going back to school simple and stress-free.

By GreatSchools Staff

As the lazy days of summer slip away, it will soon be time to put away the beach chairs and corner lemonade stands and prepare for going back to school. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.

Adjust to the new routine

Ease into the school-year schedule. Getting back into the school routine can be a challenge for everyone in the family. To make the adjustment easier, start early.

  • A few weeks before school starts, move bedtime back to an earlier time.
  • Put a positive spin on going back to school. Talk about the fun things your child will learn, the old friends he'll see and the new friends he'll make.
  • If your child is anxious about starting the next grade, reassure her that other children have these feelings too.
  • Don't make plans for big trips right before the start of school.
  • Establish school-day schedules for homework, TV, baths and bedtime.
  • Arrange play dates with friends from school to re-establish connections that may have been dropped for the summer, or to create new ones.

Get organized

Take advantage of the slower pace during your time away from school to set up for the busy school year ahead.

  • Many schools send out school information and a packet of forms to fill out before school starts. If you can discipline yourself to fill out the paperwork several days before it's due, you'll avoid a last-minute panic.
  • Have the necessary immunization records available for easy reference.
  • Update school emergency contact and health information for the coming year.
  • As you read through all the school information, mark important dates (such as back-to-school night, parent-teacher conferences and school holidays) on the family calendar.
  • Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find and refer to them if necessary.
  • Establish a "get ready the night before" policy. Pick clothes for the next day and pack the backpack every evening before bedtime, and you'll save precious time in the morning.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

09/13/2010:
"great tips to make life a little easier with a first time to school child!"
09/2/2010:
"I LOVE the books they suggested! I have started the going to bed early. "
09/2/2010:
"This article was very helpful in giving out pointers for parents with younger kids about to return to school. I agree with just about everything it says, however, we need and article to address the parents of kids returning to Middle School and High School. They need our help, too!!!"
09/2/2010:
"Great ideas for making life easier during the school year!"
09/2/2010:
"very helpful, thanks"
09/2/2010:
"thank you for the wonderful tips "
08/30/2010:
"important things to do"
08/30/2010:
"good tips! thank you."
08/30/2010:
"This are great tips..!"
08/30/2010:
"Love the Get Organized."
08/30/2010:
"Great Article! "
08/30/2010:
"Thanks again great stuff"
08/30/2010:
"Good article for younger students."
08/30/2010:
"Great tips!"
08/30/2010:
"I liked the thoughts in this article!"
08/30/2010:
"informative"
08/23/2010:
"Reading all your articles gets me excited about school! Thanks!"
08/23/2010:
"Thanks. Great article."
08/23/2010:
"As a teacher and a parent, the above suggestions are right on!"
08/23/2010:
"breakfast is a major one"
08/23/2010:
"we love our family calendar do not know what i would without it."
08/23/2010:
"very helpful, thanks"
08/23/2010:
"It is always important to stay on top of things."
08/23/2010:
"cool!"
08/23/2010:
"Thank you so much!"
08/23/2010:
"We do start getting ready for the new routine weeks ahead of time."
08/23/2010:
"We start all this about 2weeks before school starts so we're extra ready! We NEVER miss breakfast, and water is very important in the lunch/snack bags!!"
08/23/2010:
"Another great informative article. Thank you so much. I love this site. It is full of great tips to aid in our children's academic success."
08/23/2010:
"IGreat article. We follow many of theses suggestions at our house and it helps so much."
08/23/2010:
"thank you!"
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