The Ultimate Back-to-School Tip List for Parents of Preschoolers and Kindergartners 2018
Aug. 20, 2018
The new school year is right around the corner, and regardless if your child attended daycare, or is headed off to school for the very first time this fall, it’s likely you’re feeling the jitters about your little learner’s new adventure. As a parent, it’s natural to feel school-related stress, especially if you’ve never planned for it before.
If non-stop back-to-school commercials are making you anxious, it’s time to break down just what needs to be done to ensure your little one adjusts to school with ease. Keep reading to discover our best back-to-school tips and ideas that cover steps you can take right now, all the way through the first few weeks of school!
Before School Starts
The key to back-to-school preparation rests solely on just that: preparation! The best tips for parents involve planning ahead and being ready for that first day of school. Let’s take a look at some easy ways to prepare for the big day, and keep in mind you can begin doing all of these weeks before the school year starts!
Establish a school routine early and consistently
It might still be summer, but it’s important to begin a routine that will be mimic the one your child will follow on school nights. That might mean cutting out summer evening fun or trips to the park in favor of getting your child in bed earlier.
Think about the time your child will wake up in the morning, and decide upon the right bedtime based on his or her personal sleep needs. Explain to your child the need for going to bed earlier, and begin your new nightly routine, which might include a warm bath, working with worksheets, a bedtime book, or any way you use to soothe your child to bed, even though it’s probably still light outside.
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Set aside time and limits for screen time
Back to school tech tips include limiting screen time to accommodate your child’s new daily routine. While you might already have solid screen rules in place, we often get lax in the summer when there’s no homework or projects to complete. Also be sure to research your child’s school and curriculum to find educational apps to support what your child will learn in school. Learning videos and games can also help your child.
Take advantage of tax free holidays to stock up on school supplies
Does your state have a sales tax holiday? Many states exempt sales tax on a planned weekend each year before school starts. The tax holiday usually applies to school supplies, back-to-school organization products like backpacks and pencil pouches, clothes, shoes, and in some cases, even diapers!
Take advantage of deals, and even if your state doesn’t offer a tax holiday, check out your school’s school supply list and stock up at your favorite stores!
Label, label, label!
Organization tips for back to school aren’t only about backpacks and pocket folders. There’s no doubt that your child will leave for preschool armed with a bag filled with supplies, and even items from home. Whether it’s a change of clothes, your child’s favorite Thermos, or your lefty’s individualized pair of scissors, you’ll want to label everything your child takes to school if you expect it to return back home.
Talk about school, and read books to ease into the transition
Back-to-school tips for students should always include a way to ease kids into the transition from summer to school. For little learners, this means introducing a concept that is probably completely new.
That’s why it’s important to talk to your child weeks before the first day of school to explain what he or she can expect when school starts. Try reading books together, and answer any questions your child might have to calm any fears about what to expect.
Make a classroom visit, or attend Meet the Teacher night
Even if your child’s school doesn’t offer an open house, don’t be afraid to call the school to arrange for a classroom visit. Most teachers are delighted to meet their students before school start, and will allow your child to check out the classroom. Don’t forget to attend any parent information meetings, as schools regularly host kid-friendly info sessions.
Encourage your child to help make lunch, snacks, and pack his bag the night before school starts
Why not ease your own schedule and nightly responsibilities, while offering a way to get your child involved and excited for school? One of the best tips and tricks for parents is to encourage your little one to help pick and pack supplies and lunches. Kids feel more in control and comfortable if they have the autonomy to pick their snacks and pack their lunch. As a bonus, this makes packing easier for you, too!
The First Day of School
When the day arrives, you might feel anxious about your child’s big classroom debut! Start the day off right with the following back-to-school tips to ensure a smooth start to your morning:
Set your alarm early
Stave off any first day jitters by setting the alarm earlier than normal. Did you remember to take his lunch? Does she have a change of clothes? Avoid a last-minute frenzy by waking up a few minutes earlier to give both you and your child a stress-free morning.
Follow your school’s traffic plan for drop off and pickup
For kids, going back to school can be stressful, and most elementary schools will allow a parent to walk in with the student on the first days of school. Other schools may have a specific drop off route and procedure to follow. Be sure to know what to do ahead of time, and follow through beginning with that very first morning.
Plan ahead for driving delays and road congestion
Some parents don’t realize that the first day of school is often the busiest. Follow back-school-safety tips and procedures, take a deep breath, and expect delays in the drop off and pickup lines the first few days of school while parents get back into the swing of things.
Be aware of school zone speed limits and follow all traffic laws
This should go without saying, but sometimes school zones aren’t as clearly marked as we’d like them to be. Safety tips for drivers include understanding where school zones start and end, and watching out for walking students along the way.
The First Few Weeks of School
School has started, and your child is getting acclimated. Keep your routines alive, and continue to support your little learner with the following helpful tips.
Keep bedtime routines and times over the weekend similar to those on school nights
You’ve probably heard this advice for yourself—we get more and better rest if our sleep schedule remains the same all week long. As a back-to-school health tip, don’t be tempted to let your child stay up late on the weekends. While weekend evenings can be fun, your child needs sleep to maintain a healthy immune system, and keep attention and focus top notch.
Expect setbacks and crankiness
Don’t worry if your child seems irritable throughout the first few weeks of school. After the excitement of the first day of school wears off, your child (and you!) will likely be tired and cranky from all the extra stimulation.
Kids tend to react in a few different ways. Sometimes kids seem to come home from school “bouncing off the walls” from unused energy as they were spending time focusing on learning. Other times kids will respond with overtiredness, becoming extremely agitated in the evenings. Expect that your child might revert to baby-like habits, like potty accidents, but these often fade away as kids adapt to their everyday school routine and environment.
As a health tip for parents, don’t forget to take time out for yourself to unwind at the end of each day! You might feel stressed from feeling the need to plan, remember, and do everything for your child’s schooling, so find your favorite ways to relieve stress throughout the first few weeks of school and beyond.
Talk to your child about his or her day
This might be obvious, but sometimes we forget to stop and ask our children about their day! Find out what your child is learning by asking, and talk about the crafts, books, and activities your child enjoys the most at school. Encourage little learners to share emotions about school openly to provide a safe way to discuss concerns and ways to resolve any issues. The best tips for back to school involve ways to foster support for your child not only today, but throughout your child’s school years.
Be enthusiastic! Make a special calendar and get excited about special events or field trips at school!
One great way to ease your child into their school routine while growing a love for learning is to celebrate the special events that your school provides for students. Is a special guest arriving for story time? Maybe your child is taking a field trip to the zoo. No matter what special day your school has planned, be sure to pump your child up by making a calendar and counting down the days!
Going to school for the first time is tough for both students and parents. Make it easier on both you and your child by following the above back-to-school tips to ensure a smooth start to your child’s first year!