Best Practices for Preparing for the New School Year

It’s been such a wonderful summer, but it’s time to prepare for the new school year. 

As a child’s summer vacation transitions into the start of school, there are a variety of thoughts, feelings and emotions that both a parent and a child can experience. For some students, there can be a feeling of sadness about having to get back into the routine of the school day and a feeling of loss for their less structured summer schedule. For others, starting the school year is seen as quite positive. For these students, there are joyful feelings about seeing friends in familiar surroundings and the predictability of their teachers and school day. 

The educational experience is heightened when viewed as a partnership among the educators, the students and the families. It is imperative for teachers to know students’ families, cultures, interests, activities and what fuels the student as a learner.

So, let’s discuss some basic best practices to use as you and your family prepare for the start of a new school year. These areas can be helpful for the parent and child to kick-start the new school year in the most positive fashion.

  1. Get back into your sleep routine. Perhaps begin the school sleep routine two weeks prior to starting the school year.

  2. Shop for school supplies together. This is a great time for parents to get their child excited about new friends, a new grade and all the new school year can bring.

  3. Reestablish school routines. Have the child begin the school-day routine by getting up at the same time each day and eating around the same time they would at school. 

  4. Limit the use of TV and video games. It can come as a shock for many students when they realize that six hours of their day is going to be spent learning and not playing games and watching TV.

  5. Make an after-school game plan. This means you should craft a predictable plan for where your child will go after school; this could be a neighbor’s house, sitter or an after-school program. A good after-school program will provide a student with predictability, comfort and a lack of confusion during the first few weeks of school. 

  6. Be ready for the unexpected. Working parents often find it difficult to find a sitter when their child is sick. It’s a good idea to have a sitter lined up well in advance.

  7. Get organized. Review all school material, read all information carefully and mark down all important dates on your calendar. Designate a spot in the home for homework, permission slips and other school-related papers. Being organized in this manner will make things less stressful.

Our children are our most precious assets. Know that our educators feel the same way about them. Forming a team among the student, the teacher and the family can bring wonderful, productive growth in our students and foster a love of learning, positive social interaction and positive future development.

We would like to thank Connie Hytjan, principal at Forest Hills Elementary school, for collaborating with us on this article.

Here’s to the new school year. Let’s make it the best one yet!