With school about to start, your child’s teacher is getting just as many butterflies as you and your child. Here’s a list of things you can do to prepare your child for the big first day.
Fix your sleeping routine
It’s so easy to allow the lazy days of summer to take over your routine. With just a few weeks left before school starts, try putting your kids to bed earlier so that they are alert and ready earlier in the morning. (You too!) If you have a few weeks, start moving bedtime up by 10-15 minutes a week until you hit “ideal time.”
Try a dry run
A lot of families do this the day before school, but I suggest dry runs the week before school starts–so you’ll be sure you’ll get it right on the first day. Parents should start setting their alarms as well, and everyone should learn the morning routine: get dressed, brush your teeth, have breakfast, pack up lunches, put shoes on and walk to the bus stop. Keep an eye on the clock to make sure you’re doing everything at the right time and celebrate when you “make” the bus! Bonus! You’re up early and can now start your day earlier–so get moving on one of the next 3 activities.
Go to the library
Look, we teachers understand that your child may not have read every day this summer. In fact, there may have been weeks that your child didn’t pick up a book. (Ouch!) Get that brain back into reading-mode by exploring the library a few times before school starts. Help your child (or ask the librarian for help) to find a new series of books or author that he will be excited to read once school starts.
Head to the grocery store, with a list
This is easy, because it’s likely a part of your week already. This time, take your kids along for a little exploration. Give each of your children a list of items to search for at the store. This will refresh his skills in list-making, following directions, reading and math (make sure he weighs the fruits and vegetables.) When it’s time to check out, estimate the number of items in the cart and the total amount due and calculate real versus estimated.
Do your back to school shopping and pack up the backpack
Try to do back to school shopping at least a week before school starts so that you’ll be sure to have time to find that box of 36 crayons (no 48 or 24, she said 36!) Once you have all the supplies, label them and pack up! This will eliminate any last minute rush.
Go to one more museum, carnival or amusement park
You’re not going to have as much time to do this in the fall, so get the visits out of the way now and enjoy it. Mix in reading the brochures and maps, estimating lines and counting costs. We like to give the kids each $10 on our trips for “expenses” to help them learn to limit and appreciate their spending and grasp a better understanding of the value of the dollar.
Visit the school, locate your classroom and find your teacher’s picture
Call ahead and get clearance from the school office, then take a casual tour of school. If you don’t have an older sibling who’s been there before, ask a neighbor to come a long and give a tour. Find your classroom and, if possible, a picture of your child’s teacher to make him feel more prepared for the first day. Do not try to meet your teacher without calling ahead to see if it’s possible. She’s likely overwhelmed with getting her classroom ready, in meetings and trying to finish her last minute rush. Also, make sure to locate the nearest bathrooms!
Get a copy of the lunch calendar
If your child usually buys lunch, grab a copy of the menu or calendar before school starts so that he’ll know what to expect on the first day. One of the scariest things for new kids is the school cafeteria, so make it a bit easier by helping him to know what he can buy that first day.
Is your child ready for the first day of school? Are you?