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Tips for Easing Into the Back to School Routine

Updated on August 7, 2011

Starting the School Year Off Right

As summer vacation draws to a close, many parents and students begin to feel a little bit of anxiety about beginning the new school year. So how can you make this transition simple so that everyone is at ease? Here are some suggestions that will make a difference in your back to school routine.

Adjust Sleep Schedules

At least two weeks before school starts, start the daily school routine. Start sending your children to bed at the school bedtime and waking them at their school wake up time. I know this may sound silly but many times children have stayed up late and slept in during their time off. This always makes it much more difficult to be ready and focused for learning once school begins. Children start those first few days with their heads dragging all the way to school. My changing back into the school routine earlier, your child’s body will adjust in time for the first day of school.

Homework Tips

  • Find a quiet place to designate as your homework spot each day.
  • Set a time that homework will be done each day. Sometimes it's best to give kids a snack and a little break before starting homework.
  • Put homework in backpacks when it is complete to avoid it getting lost.
  • When working on long term projects, don't wait until the last minute to complete them.
  • In addition to the regular homework each night, set aside some time to read.

Get Organized

Make decisions about how you are going to handle things like homework. Where will the homework be completed? When? Where will the homework be placed when it is complete? All of these things seem like little details but often it is the little details that hang us up in the flow of everyday routines. If these are put in place from the start, everyone will know the expectations.

Visit the School

If this is a new school for your child, call the school and arrange a time that you can visit the school. Although it will not be likely that your child’s teacher will be in, it will give your child an opportunity get a feel for the school layout and perhaps have a chance to meet the principal before the first day of school. This can provide a great deal of comfort for your child on the first day.

Basic School Supply List

Supplies for School
Supplies for Home
sharpened pencils
sharpened pencils
a folder for each subject area
a ruler with inches and centimeters
ruler with inches and centimeters
crayons/markers/colored pencils
crayons/markers/colored pencils
glue sticks
glue sticks
pencil box of some sort
container for supplies at home
two large erasers
lined paper

When shopping for school supplies, parents often just think about what to send to school. But it is important to have certain things on hand for homework as well.

School Supplies

Many schools will send out a list of the school supplies prior to the first day of school. If that is the case for your school, then you can have all of your supplies ready and labeled with your child’s name on it before starting school. If a list is not sent home prior to school starting, there are some basic supplies that can help you get started. Just be aware that you will probably need to make another trip to the store for some additional items that the teacher requests. Often these additional items would be for older students who have more involved curriculum expectations, things such as technology related items like a flash drive.

In addition to the supplies that might seem obvious to you, many teachers are now requesting items for the classroom. Due to budget cuts many schools are no longer supplying or severely limiting the amounts of things like tissue, hand sanitizer, bleach wipes, etc. Keep in mind that your child's teacher may ask you to donate some of these items.


Talk about how he will get to and from school each day. If he will be riding the bus, find the bus stop ahead of time and discuss whether you will meet him at the stop after school or if he is to walk home. If he is being driven to school, talk about where he will meet you when school gets out.

Back to School Books

Read a Book

Books are a great way to help ease the transition into a new situation is to read a book about it. Whether your child is just beginning kindergarten or if they are just returning to school from a summer vacation, read a book. It will help your child to remember that she is not alone. Everyone, even teachers, is a little nervous on the first day of school. It will provide a great opportunity to have a conversation about what your child's fears or concerns may be prior to that first day. You may even fin out that you are the one that has the fears and that your child is very excited!

On a personal note, my favorite story for the first day of school is The Kissing Hand. It is a delightful story of a raccoon who is scared to start school. The mother creates a delightful way of helping her son Chester adjust to that first day of school. Beware, it will tug on your heart strings!

The most important thing to remember is to keep yourself focused and organized to keep the back to school anxiety to minimum. The more prepared you are in the beginning, the less opportunity there is for frustration and stress to loom over everyone.


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