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Tips for getting your child ready for the school year

Updated on October 27, 2012

Time to Get Ready

It's time for going back to school. My daughter is a new kindergarten teacher this year, and helping her get ready for the new school year made me think of things that parents should do to get their child ready too.

Here are tips for parents and children to get ready for that important first day.

These tips apply to Preschool, Kindergarten, and Elementary school age children.

1. Get back in the school time sleep schedule.

Your child and you need to get back into a bedtime routine. Start going to bed at an earlier time and getting up earlier using an alarm clock. Start this at least a week before school begins to get your bodies used to the new time schedule.

2. Good breakfast and lunch

Shop for foods for healthy breakfasts and lunches. Your child needs to eat breakfast before she goes to school each morning. Try packing most of the lunches the night before.

3. Prepare for accidents to avoid embarassment

Accidents can happen! Pack a change of clothes for your child,and bring it on the first day of school so that your child’s teacher can keep them in the classroom. Make sure to put your child's name on all articles of clothing. Or put them all in a large labeled ziplock bag.

4. Learn to play well with others

Let your child meet and play with other children. Set up play dates with other parents who have kids about the same age. Look for free events at the library or community center in your area. Your child needs to spend time with other children for his emotional and social development and to prepare him for being around other children at school.

5. Help your child learn social skills

Introduce your child and yourself on the first day of preschool. Teach you child to say Hello and his name. She'll be making new friends in no time. It’s normal for kids to be anxious about new social situations and meeting new people. Talk about these fears with your child.

6. No tears

Don't let your child see you cry on the first day of school. Smile, be calm and positive, and your child will follow your example.

7. Encourage reading

Read to your child each day. As she is learning to read, let her read to you.

Provide lots of books for your child. Make special trips to your local library and let your child get her own library card.

8. Get involved

Get involved in your child's school. Talk to your child’s teacher and ask how she is doing. If you have the time, volunteer at the school. Join the PTO/PTA.

9. Support your child and her school

If there are after-school activities taking place, such as school carnivals, book fairs, plays, or music programs, make a point to attend with your child. If your child is in the program, be there to support her.

10. Medical checkup and immunizations

Make sure that your child has had all of the immunizations that are needed to start school. Have her hearing and vision checked by a trained physician. Get a copy of these health records from your doctor in case the school requires the information.

11. School supplies

Go together to buy school supplies and go early to avoid the mad rush the weekend before school starts. Make sure your child's name is printed on each item, Have your child get his school backpack ready the night before the first day of school, and put it near the front door, so that it won't be forgotten.

12. BackPack

Make sure that your child's backpack is not too heavy. It should never weigh more than 20 percent of your child’s body weight. Teach him to always use both shoulder straps. Carrying his backpack over only one shoulder can strain his muscles and injure his spine.

13. Plan Their Clothes Ahead of Time

Help your child plan what he will wear each day or maybe for the whole week. Put underwear and socks together in separate stacks for each day. Hang shirts and pants together in the closet that will be worn each day. If you child has trouble deciding what goes together, planning aheadh will save a lot of time getting ready in the morning.

14. What to Expect

Talk with your child about what to expect at school.

15. Safety

If your kid is going to be riding the bus for the first time, be sure to discuss bus safety with him. It’s also the time to stress general safety rules about strangers. If he will be walking to school, discuss traffic safety.

16. Study Spot

Set up a specific place in the house where your child can do homework each night. Make sure that it’s in a quiet place, away from the television, and has the needed supplies, such as paper and pencils.

What about You?

Do you have any other suggestions for getting ready for school? I'd love to hear your ideas.

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