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How to navigate your child’s first month back in school

News, Kids' Health

Parents, we are in the thick of back-to-school season! Seeing that many schools have already started, and many more are to begin soon, it’s a good time to remember that preparing for the school season isn’t just for kids—parents play an important role too! For parents, this means a return to a structured schedule, helping with homework and transporting to extracurricular activities. It can be a pretty big transition for the whole family, but it can be done with more ease than you’d expect—thanks to a bit of planning and organization.

Here are eight tips to get the school year started off on the right track:

1. Meet the teacher– Have you scheduled a time to meet with your child’s teacher(s)? If not, you should! Introduce yourself and your child and learn about the teacher’s expectations for the year. Discover the best way to communicate with them and program that information into your phone along with their contact details. Attend your child’s back-to-school night, if one is offered—this can be a great way to plan for the year ahead.

2. Get organized – Make a list of everything you need to do during the first few weeks of school. Set realistic deadlines for yourself to eliminate stress further down the line. Assess necessary school supplies and clothes before shopping and then use a checklist organized by the store to make sure you pick up everything that is needed.

mom and daughter back to school shopping

3. School station– Establish a space at home that is strictly reserved for school-related materials. This is a great way to make sure homework doesn’t get lost, school clutter doesn’t creep into family space and that all items that need to get to school leave with your child each day.

4. Set, review and practice a schedule – A set schedule is critical to mitigating school-related anxiety. Ensure that you set a bedtime, wake-up time and a get-ready routine for yourself and your child. Make sure that both of you are familiar with the schedule and comfortable with the routine so that as the school year continues, it becomes more seamless.

father and son brushing teeth in the morning

5. Communicate with your boss– If it hasn’t already, your child’s return to school might create a change in your work schedule as well. You may need to arrive early and leave early to pick up your child from school or take them to an activity. Make sure you communicate clearly with your employer in advance to establish expectations and ensure a smooth transition all around.

6. Prepare lunch at night – If your child brings their lunch to school, have them pack it up the night before so it’s ready to go in the morning. If your child is still too young to pack their own lunch, incorporate this into your own nightly routine.

mom packing daughter's lunch

7. Mark the calendar – If your child is involved in extracurricular activities, make sure to obtain copies of those schedules and input everything in your calendar at the beginning of the year. Practices, games, concerts or theater performances, big project due dates, as well as any testing dates and enrollment deadlines for older students (SAT, SAT II and ACT) should all be noted on the calendar so that you are aware of important deadlines. Put the calendar in an accessible spot such as on the refrigerator or a shared calendar through smartphones so that everyone knows what’s upcoming.

8. Set “you” time – This can be hard, but it is so important. School time can become all about your child, and it’s important not to lose yourself in their world. Make sure to set aside even a small bit of time each day for yourself. This could be an after-dinner walk, some reading time before bed or catching up on your favorite shows once your child is asleep. Make sure you give yourself time to relax and reset for the next day.

woman relaxing

As parents, your child’s first month of school can be challenging for you, too! Taking steps like meeting the teacher(s) and completing necessary shopping can take a huge strain off of the first few weeks of school. Additionally, being organized, setting a routine and communicating clearly throughout the year can keep everyone on the same page. Use these eight helpful tips and getting back into school will be a breeze!