10 ways to prep for back-to-school success

As summer slides into the new school year, try these tips for a seamless transition.

By GreatSchools Staff

Calm kickoff

If your kids are transitioning from elementary to middle school or middle to high school, take a tour of the campus before the new year starts. Find out what questions they have about the school, and help them get familiar with its layout.

Looking for more transition tips? Check out these 10 for adjusting to a new school.

Wellness alert

Schedule an annual checkup with your kids’ pediatrician, and make sure their immunizations are up-to-date. If your children have vision or hearing problems — or any chronic health conditions — see that they're under control and treatment is on track before classes start.

From z's to A's

Nudge your children into an early-bird routine well before the first day of school. Bump up their bed- and wake time by several minutes every day for two weeks before school starts, and they’ll be rested and energized for success.

Is sleep the secret weapon for school success? Find out more, including advice from Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, author of Sleepless in America: Practical Strategies to Help Your Family Get the Sleep It Deserves.

Healthy body, healthy mind

Encourage your kids to get in shape this school year by trying a new sport (like soccer or baseball) or routine physical activity (like jogging or swimming). Aside from burning off calories — and stress — aerobic exercise may boost children's brainpower. Want to get the whole family off the couch? Try these fun fitness tips.

Plan for paperwork

Don't wait until the night before school starts to fill out the pile of forms that need updating. Check that your emergency contact information is current, or find another friend or relative to be your emergency go-to this year.

Do your kids need help keeping track of their papers? Check out these time-management and organization tips.

Binders, keepers

Set aside a few minutes to help your children organize their backpacks and binders. Find a place to stash pens and pencils, and start a system to keep them from losing school supplies.

While you're at it, help them make space for their assignments with a designated homework spot. Find out how to create a super study area with this video.

Mind the kids

Make sure you arrange for childcare after 3 p.m. If you’re sending your kids to an after-school program, plan to pick them up early one day during the first week so you can check in.

Looking for a first-rate after-school program? Find out the 10 qualities that separate the great from the adequate.

Practice makes perfect

Avoid first-day fiascoes by holding “dress rehearsals” the week before school starts. If your kids get into the habit of laying out their clothes and shoes nightly, adjusting to a school-day routine will be as easy as A, B, C.

Ready to dress for success? Try these ideas for making the school year stress-free.

Transition tradition

Host a festive back-to-school party in your community. Invite new neighbors with school-aged kids, and make sure your children help their potential classmates feel welcome.

Take care

Going back to school takes a lot of hard work — shopping, researching, and calming fears (your kids' and your own). Don't forget to look after yourself so that you can be at your best for your family.

In the meantime, read up on these parental survival tips for when the going gets rough.