6 tips for easing into the new school year

A few years ago, we published a story on back-to-school tips. Families and students found it helpful, so we refreshed our story and are pleased to share it once again …

As summer slips by and back-to-school ads bombard in full force, anxiety tends to sneak up on students and families as they wonder – and worry – about what lies ahead in the new school year.  What’s more, the novelty of a school year may never fully wear off.

Going to school is like going to a new job, except that new class lessons can make every school day feel like a first. The learning curve for school students is never ending.

Reading, writing and arithmetic aside, new faces, new names, new lockers and hallways can add to back-to-school stress. Take heed! A little preparation can go a long way in getting the school year off to a smooth start.

Here are six tips for success at the start, through the end, of the school year.

Set out clothes and backpacks and pack lunch the night before school. Make next-day preparation part of students’ nightly routine. This important step might save a child from forgetting to bring a book or homework to school the next day. Also be sure to set a regular bedtime so weariness doesn’t get in the way of a productive school day.

Label sweatshirts, bookbags, lunch boxes and other items. While the school Lost and Found is a great place to find missing items, duplicate ones are not so easy to match with their owners. Imagine five identical school sweatshirts, all the same size, all in the school Lost and Found. Items labeled with a student’s name can help ensure missing items find their way back to their owners.

Ask questions that help tell a story. What made you laugh today? Who did you sit with at lunchtime? Parent, grandparents and guardians, ask your child probing questions to help understand what’s going on in their classroom and school. You may not get the full picture overnight, but you will have insight to know if there are any issues so you can take the steps to resolve concerns.

Memorize important names and numbers. Remembering room numbers, locker combinations, class schedules and teachers’ names before school starts can help take the fear factor out of students’ return to school. Simply knowing a teacher’s name can help a student make a concrete connection with that teacher. By the same token, when students know an important number such as their homeroom number, even if they do not know where the classroom is, they can ask a school staff member for help finding it.

Read school notices. Parents and guardians, read the papers your child brings home and also check social media for school announcements. Staying on top of open house dates, class activities and other important events can make all the difference between a stressful and smooth-going start to the new school year.

Communicate with your child’s teacher.  Reach out to your child’s teacher with questions and concerns. Changes are your child’s teacher will welcome your interest and outreach.