Preparing for School
It’s That Time Of Year Again!
Hot, muggy days slowly turn cooler and the leaves begin the ever beautiful change from vibrant green to a variety of reds, yellows and oranges. We bring out our fall jackets and enjoy walks together in the crisp autumn days while listening to the leaves crunch under our feet. And of course, children and parents alike prepare for the next school year, shopping for and organizing items off of this year’s school supply lists. After enjoying three months of relaxing time off, it may seem like it all came up too quickly. If you haven’t prepped for your child’s upcoming school year yet, Madison Women’s Health can help with preparing for school.
Preparing For School With Your Child
Attend the School’s Orientation
This is an extremely important event that you do not want to miss. Typically a week or two before classes start, an orientation is held for all students and their parents at the school. During this orientation, you and your child will meet members of the staff, pick up class schedules and shopping lists, find and secure their locker if they are given one, and walk around the school to help the children become familiar with the location of their classes and other important locations around the building. It is also a great time to meet other students or be reacquainted with friends from previous school years. If you have any questions while at your child’s school orientation, the principal and teachers will be happy to answer them.
Organize All Of Their Supplies From Their Shopping Lists
After school orientation, you and your child have a lot of things to do! One of the biggest and busiest times for retailers is right before the start of every school year, so keep in mind that many other parents will be shopping for the exact same things as you are at the same time, and stores may get crowded and hectic. Make sure you bring your child’s supply shopping list with you, and don’t let him or her wander into the crowd while you are looking for everything on that list.
Being prepared in advance is extremely helpful when you’re ready to start shopping. Go over the list with your child before you leave home, and try to go to stores that have most or all of the items on your list, like a Target or WalMart. This reduces the time you spend shopping, and saves on gas as well. Make sure you include your child in the shopping, also. Let them pick out colors of binders and notebooks if the list doesn’t call for specific colors. If they do, let your child pick out stickers or other decorations that they can use to personalize their supplies. When you have all of their supplies from their list, enjoy the rest of your afternoon by labeling their items with their name and organizing them into carrying cases to make sure it all fits in their backpack.
Go Over Your Child’s School Schedule With Them
When you can, try to go over your child’s school class schedule with them. It is very beneficial to older students as it will make sure they aren’t completely in the dark on their first day at school. For younger children you can read off each class individually to them and discuss it with them. Find out what your child is excited for and encourage that excitement. If they don’t seem particularly thrilled with other types of classes, ask them why. Reassure your child by talking about times you may have had in the same classes when you were in school, and by explaining all of the fun and exciting things they will get to learn. You want to make absolutely sure that your child goes into their new school year with positive thoughts and eager anticipation.
Look For After School Activities Your Child Would Enjoy
School is for children to learn, to explore new ideas and to socialize with children their age as well as adults, but school is also for trying fun, new activities and clubs! Most schools have informational packets or at orientation about exciting after school sports, activities and clubs that children can sign up for. Even at smaller schools, there are tons of options to consider.
Have a fun time together with your child by asking what they are really interested in doing this coming year. Once you get a feel for what extracurricular activities might be a good fit for them, take some time going over what their school offers and picking some out that do not overlap on time.
Get New Clothing Late In the Summer
The start of a new school year is a very important time to buy your child a new wardrobe, too! There are countless back to school sales that can help you save money on clothing, shoes and accessories, but they only tend to be for the few weeks right before school starts. This is a good time to go shopping for kid’s clothing anyway, as they are always growing and changing, and if you buy new clothes for school too soon in the year, they might not fit come the first day of class.
Have in mind what stores you and your child are interested in going to before the sales even start. It’s also helpful to make a list of items they really are in need of, such as new sneakers and pants, with a little wiggle room, too, for clothes they might not need, but are eyeing up anyway. It’s important to make sure your child is happy with the clothing you’re picking out together, but you don’t have to go overboard, either. Let them know there is a spending limit (maybe you can even pick one out together) and that some items they may have to put back so you do not go over budget.
Another good thing to think about is buying clothes that they can easily get into. This is important for them when they have to change for gym class if that is a school requirement, and having too many zippers or buttons or clasps slows children down and can get caught or torn off easily in their hurry to change. Keep the clothes fun, but simple, and make sure you and your child have plenty of fun while they try on new outfits!
Keep Your Brain Active During the Summer, Too!
After the last day of school is over each year, the last thing kids want to do is study. Unfortunately, if they stay away from books and educational materials all summer long, their minds won’t stay as sharp as they should be, and they won’t be well prepared for school when fall comes around.
Reading most types of books will greatly help their mind stay active, even if it is fiction. It will help them learn new words, give them a great chance to use their imaginations, and it is a great way to keep them off of video game consoles (although those can have perks too!). Once a week, try quizzing your child on things they learned in school before, or things that you know they will be learning this coming school year, but don’t let them get frustrated. If they can’t remember or don’t know, explore the answers together. Keeping your brain going is good for you, no matter what age you are!
Other Important Things to Keep In Mind
Make sure your child’s ride to and from school is secured, Whether they are signed up to get on a school or city bus, to ride in a carpool with other students, or even just with their parents, always be sure that the ride is scheduled and that it will always be on time. Also never forget to sign them up for school lunches if they are provided, or make sure you will be packing their lunch every morning for them. Growing children need to have well balanced, healthy meals that will keep them full during their day.
If this is a new school for your child this year, the single day at their school’s orientation might not be enough for them to feel comfortable with their surroundings. You can visit the school multiple times to look around at classrooms, help them locate places like the cafeteria, library and nurse’s office, and familiarize them with where their locker is compared to where their classes will be held. It’s even a great idea to go on a “practice run” with them. Bring a copy of their class schedule and walk to each classroom. This will help them learn how far each class is from each other, where bathrooms are, and maybe help them discover shortcuts.
Going Back to School Is Fun For Everyone!
Make sure you are there with your child when they strap on their backpack that first day. Whether you are giving them a ride or they are getting on a bus, make sure they know how proud of them you are. Don’t fuss too much over them, however. Children, especially younger ones, need to learn to cope with change, be it good or bad. Just make sure they know to ask you for guidance if they need it. Whether they show it or not, it will give them a renewed sense of courage to know that they are well prepared for school and that you are there to help them along the way.