Back-to-School Tips

By: PBS Kids

Ease into the new routine

Switching from a summer to a school schedule can be stressful for everyone in the household. Avoid first-day-of-school mayhem by practicing your routine a few days in advance. Set the alarm clock, go through your morning rituals, and get in the car or to the bus stop on time. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.


Try the following in preparation for the new morning routine:

  • Get everyone to bed at an early time
  • Set alarm clocks in advance with enough time to get ready for the day
  • Prepare a healthy breakfast and lunch in the morning
  • Get to the car or the bus stop a few minutes early

Tool up

Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. Having the right tools will help him feel prepared. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool backpack or a favorite-colored pen. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun!

School supply lists also provide great insight into the schoolwork ahead. Get your child excited about upcoming projects by explaining how new supplies might be used. Let him practice using supplies that he’s not used before — such as a new calculator or a protractor — so he will be comfortable using them in class.

Tour the school

If your school hosts an open house, be sure to go! Familiarizing your child with her new environment will help her avoid a nervous stomach on the first day. Together you can meet her teacher, find her desk, or explore the playground!

With an older child, you might ask him to give you a tour of the school. This will help refresh his memory along with yours.

Meet the teacher

For kids, one of the biggest back-to-school fears is “Will I like my new teacher?” Breaking the ice early on is one of the best ways to calm everyone’s fears. Take advantage of your school’s open house or back-to-school night. Some teachers welcome phone calls or e-mails — another great opportunity to get to know each other before the year begins.

If personal contact with the teacher isn’t possible, try locating the teacher’s picture on a school website or in a yearbook, so your child can put a name with a face. If your child’s teacher sends a welcome letter, be sure to read the letter together.

Connect with some friends

A familiar friend can make all the difference when heading back to school. Ask the parents of your child’s friends what their school schedule looks like. They may end up having classes together. You could also try calling parents from last year’s class and finding out which children are in your child’s class this year! Refresh these relationships before school starts by scheduling a play date or a school carpool.

Chat about today’s tasks and tomorrow’s events

While it is important to support learning throughout the summer, don’t spend the last weeks of summer vacation reviewing last year’s curriculum and schedule. It is important to educate your child on the new schedule they are about to have and the new classes they are about to take.

All kids need some down time before the rigors of school begin. For some kids, last-minute learning can heighten anxiety, reminding them of what they’ve forgotten instead of what they remember. Instead, talk to your child about the tasks that they should accomplish today, while also mentioning what they have going on the tomorrow.

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