Almost Time for School to Start Again
DO start adjusting weekday bedtime schedules to earlier times and limiting late night television and video/computer game playing. Going to bed early and getting up on a school schedule starting two weeks before the actual start of school is the most effective way to get students back in routine, and eliminates stress those first few weeks back.
DON’T go on a before school shopping spree for school supplies unless you actually know what the teachers will require. Many of the big box stores have lists of needed supplies by grade level but these are created to sell school supplies and are often NOT the supplies your child will actually be asked to bring in. Of course, the backpack and lunch pail are always standard equipment and fun to purchase and take on the first day. With prices rising and budgets shrinking, wait to see what your child’s school will provide before purchasing school supplies. Many schools are now posting supply recommendations on their websites.
DO make your child a list of important contacts and phone numbers in case of emergencies. This list can be kept on a cell phone for older students and in the backpack for the younger ones. Consider getting your child an ID bracelet with your cell phone number and contact information. This is a great idea for younger students who have yet to memorize their phone numbers. Don’t forget to update the list and contact the school when your phone number changes. Many schools are using auto-dialer phone call systems to remind you about upcoming events and activities and to receive the message, they need a working phone number. Also, make sure you have an email address as many teachers share info this way.
DON’T plan a big vacation or trip the weekend before school begins. Spend some time just relaxing and being together as a family. If your child will be attending a new school, take a stroll around the campus after you get off work or on the weekend and check out where the classrooms are, the location of restrooms and the cafeteria and office.
DO make sure you and your elementary age children have a password that will be shared in the event you have an emergency and have to send a friend or co-worker to pick them up. Children should be taught not to go with strangers unless they know the password. This way no one can convince your child you have been in an accident and need to get in the car with him or her to be taken to see you. Don’t frighten your children, but have a plan in place to assure their safety.
DON’T forget to have the phone and/or camera charged for those first day photos.
DO set up a basket or box to use for papers you need to read and possibly sign and return to school. There is a lot of paperwork the first few weeks and with multiple children it can get misplaced and lost if there is not a designated spot for you to check.
DON’T forget to check the bus schedule. For Paso Robles Schools it can be found at www.pasoschools.com under Support Services. Make sure both you and your child have a designated place to meet after school or if they will be walking or riding a bike home, practice the route before school actually begins.
DO make sure your child has picked up a pencil, and used it at least once before school actually begins. Writing shopping lists, letters to friends and relatives, or a journal of final summer activities are all great ways to get back in the writing routine.
DON’T forget to listen to your child’s concerns or worries about returning to school. What might seem like a silly problem to an adult can cause a child much stress and anxiety. Encourage your child to talk to you about what is bothering her and then make a plan to address the concerns.
DO discuss and put in writing a plan for when and where homework will be done. Some families find doing it right after school works best while others like to wait until dinner is over. Splitting the tasks in half and doing some work immediately after school and then the rest after dinner works well too. Pencil in activities such as Awanas, Girl Scouts, or football, and teach your child time management skills by planning ahead each week to get homework done around the various activities. Post the schedule on the refrigerator so everyone can see the plan for the week. For older students, set up a shared Google Calendar for the family. It really helps keep from overlapping activities.
DON’T forget to label backpacks, lunch pails, PE clothes, sweatshirts and other easily misplaced items. Every few months, schools send thousands of dollars worth of clothing to thrift shops when it is left on the playground and no name is found to return the jacket or sweatshirt to the rightful owner.
DO give lots of hugs and make time to hear all of the news during the first few days back at school. It is a time for new beginnings, new friendships and new knowledge.