By: J. Chevont’e Alexander
Can you believe it? There is less than one week left before the hustle and bustle of the new school year begins! The three months of your joyous summer vacation is coming to an end, and it’s that time of year to get ready for heading back to school. No more late nights and even later mornings, as its time to crack open the books, welcome the wave of yellow school buses through the neighborhood, and get your children and yourself ready and prepared for returning to school. No matter the age of your child, everyone will have to make adjustments to ensure that the beginning of the school year is a smooth transition to make sure the entire school year will be successful. Let the countdown to September 4 begin!
“It is important to prepare before returning to school so students began to be engaged before even stepping into the classroom. Studies show that students who are not engaged tend to lose some of the skills they may have learned at the previous grade level, some of which are critical for early success at the next grade.” says Gemayel Hazard, Resource Teacher in Henrico County Public Schools.
To make sure you and your child transition from summer vacation mode to full gear for school, follow the tips below from local parents and teachers in the Greater Richmond area.
Adjust to the ‘sort of new’ routine
Easing into the school-year schedule and getting back into the school routine can be a challenge. Before school starts, move bedtime back to an earlier time. Also, start school-day schedules for homework, TV, dinner, baths and bedtime. If your child is anxious about starting the next grade or not looking forward to returning to school, put a positive spin on going back to school.
“My son and I are finishing up the summer reading list, brushing up on Algebra, getting in bed early, checking & re-checking the supply list and catching up on doctor & dentist visits to avoid distractions during the school year.” comments Tonya Lee, mother of a rising 7th grader in Caroline County.
All parents know that the first day of school is plenty of paperwork. Many schools send out school information and a packet of forms to fill out before school starts. Have the necessary information, including immunizations form already organized for easy reference. Remember updated immunization forms are required for children returning to grade school. Also, update school emergency contact and health information for the upcoming school year. As you read through all the school information, mark important dates like parent-teacher conferences and school holidays, so you have a general time frame of when they will happen, and you will be prepared.
For your child, establish a “get ready the night before” policy. This includes picking clothes out for next day, packing the backpack and lunch. This policy does not hurt for the parent either. These small steps will save confusion and precious time to sleep in just a few minutes more in the morning.
Shopping for school clothes and school supplies
It’s always a great idea to buy what you know your child will need the first week of school. For school clothes, get rid of clothes you know your child will not wear or has outgrown. By reducing the clutter, you will be able to get them dressed quickly and easily.
For school supplies, although it’s difficult to predict what different teachers will require, you can get ahead of schedule by buying certain staples like glue sticks, scissors, pencils, notebooks, etc. On the first day of school send your child to school with the basics so that they are prepared with something, and you can always go back to the store and buy more.
Plan Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Most schools provide breakfast for students, but packing a lunch the night before, and being prepared for dinner will help to make schedules that much easier. Setting the time aside for your child to sit and eat a meal vs. eating on the go will help with allotting enough time for sleeping, homework, and being prepared for school the next day.
Set priorities and schedules
Before school begins, discuss your child’s schedule, including extra-curricular activities. Be realistic and don’t fall victim to over-programming. Make sure to leave enough time to do homework and for family time. For parents, determine how much time you can give to the school each month as a volunteer in the classroom, on field trips, for fundraising events and other committees. Having set routines and a place to study at home will make it easier for your child to be organized and successful at school.
“It is imperative that parents start to get their child back in the state of the mind of being a student. It helps the teacher because the student is ready to learn. And, that helps the parents make the transition easier.” comments Christopher Alexander, 4th Grade Teacher of Henrico County Public Schools.
Alexander also suggests the following things for making sure students prepare and complete homework for the new school year.
- Set up a well-lit, quiet place with a good work surface to do homework.
- Establish a regular homework time.
- Discourage distractions such as television, radio, and the Internet or phone conversations during homework time.
“My child and I do phonics, reading, and review letters, numbers and colors.” says Lauren Holmes, Mother of two, rising preschoolers in Virginia Beach, VA.
Transportation & After-school care arrangements
Remember to get the new bus schedule! If your child will be taking the bus for the first time, discuss the bus route. If you will be driving your child, have a backup arrangement with another parent in case you are delayed for some reason. Confirm carpool arrangements in advance and make sure your child knows who will be picking him/her up before and after school.
Parents please confirm after-school care arrangements. It may sound simple, but after a long summer vacation the small steps count. Most after-school care arrangements must be made months ahead, frequently in the winter or spring before your child starts school. Make sure your child knows where he is going after school, and double-check on your care plans and communicate with the provider a few days before school starts.
So, as you and your child gear up for back to school remember these few tips to make the transition easy. A great first week of school previews how the rest of the school year will be. From Urban Views Weekly, we wish all the students, parents, and teachers a great upcoming 2012-2013 school year! 1 week and counting…