Over the past three years, I’ve written a number of blogs on tips to prepare your child for going back to school (You can read them here, here, and here). Today I thought I would focus on how you as a parent can prepare for this momentous day, and help make the year successful.
- Establish a file for the new school year.
As most of the material you’ll be receiving from school will be paper, it is helpful to create a space to organize daily notes, progress reports, report cards, IEPs, and the multitude of paperwork that you receive throughout the year. I had a file drawer that was “Ryan’s” and in it I kept separate folders for each of these types of information by school year. This is a sure way to easily access a file or report whenever needed. I recently went through these files at home in an effort to declutter. I still had notes from kindergarten!
- Decide how you wish to communicate with the teacher(s).
Email, paper, phone calls, and meetings are all important and require documentation. I always spoke with the teacher at the beginning of the year to find out what system worked best for him or her. For most of Ryan’s school career, I met weekly with his classroom team. I found this to be extremely helpful to allow for consistency between home and school.
- Establish a before and after school routine.
Waking up, getting dressed, eating breakfast, waiting for the bus… these are all things that need to occur seamlessly each morning. Similarly, there are a number of activities that need to occur each night. Bus drop off, homework, exercise, dinner, bedtime routine… you will know what activities are on your list, but by establishing a set routine you will make your life less stressful.
- Positive attitude is key.
Perhaps the previous year may have been challenging for both you and your child, but it’s essential to remember that each year is a new year, and that each person involved in your child’s education deserves a chance to demonstrate their commitment. The beginning of the year is also a wonderful time to express your gratitude to your child’s school and his or her teachers. This will surely set a positive tone to the new school year.
Any other tried and true “back to school” tips that have been successful in your home? I would love to hear about them! Please share your thoughts below!