Preparing Children for Back-To-School

A new school year can be stressful for both you as the parent as well as for your child, especially if they are entering a new school. You can make the process go smoothly by preparing ahead of time, both in school and at home. Here are some steps toward creating a pleasant environment, for you and your children.


Clearing the Old—Do this process with your children to start them on good habits:

  • Get rid of clothes and shoes that no longer fit—donate them if in good condition
  • Toss old school papers and folders, etc.
  • Clean out odd sets of crayons and markers
  • Sort through toys and donate ones your children no longer show an interest in

Buying the New—Here is a basic list of supplies, as well as some shopping hints. :

  • Take an inventory of what you have on hand before heading out so you don’t over buy
  • Each school usually has its own list from which you will need to shop—take it with you
  • Buy only from the list—you don’t want to embarrass your child in class when the teacher tells him he can’t use a certain type of notebook or a mechanical pencil
  • Watch for sales and store brands to save money
  • Buy paper, folders, binders, notebooks as needed
  • Buy pens, pencils, markers, crayons, erasers, correction fluid as needed
  • Buy calculator, protractor, compass, ruler as the grade requires
  • Buy a roomy backpack that is also comfortable to carry
  • Purchase gym uniform/school uniform (may need to be ordered ahead of time)
  • Buy extra supplies to have on hand during the school year, like paper and pencils
  • Keep in mind coordinates when shopping for clothes so your child can mix and match easily
  • Buy comfortable shoes that are good for walking, playing and getting on/off the bus safely

School Policies—Contact the school before the year starts to avoid problems :

  • Does your child need any physical exams for school or athletics?
  • Does your child need any immunizations?
  • Did you provide the school with current emergency contact information?
  • Does the school have your current health insurance information?
  • If divorced/remarried, provide the school with the other parent’s name and address for a double mailing of notices and report cards
  • Find out registration dates and plan to attend and/or pick up your packet as necessary
  • Write any school holidays in your calendar to plan ahead for time off work or babysitting arrangements as necessary · Make a note of try-outs for any athletics or other extra-curricular activities
  • Create an information binder or packet for each child with their teacher’s names, school info, extra-curricular activities info, etc.
  • Get names and contact info of your children’s classmates

SETTING ROUTINES—Setting routines will ease the stresses of your busy day The Family Control Center :

  • Create a space in the home for everyone to set their backpacks, sports equipment, instruments, etc. when they arrive home
  • Create a communications center where you can write down everyone’s schedule and leave notes for other family members
  • Use a different color for each family member on the calendar
  • Make the children responsible for writing down their schedules (as age-appropriate)
  • Write in all practices or other regular activities for the entire season or year as soon as you get the schedules
  • Return backpacks and school books to designated area before going to bed

The Night Before:

  • Make sure all homework is done and in the backpack
  • Sign or fill out any papers/write checks that need to go back to school—place in backpack
  • Check that all supplies (calculator, ruler, etc.) are returned to backpack for the next day
  • Set out clothes for the next day · Make lunches—label each bag with the child’s name
  • Set a bedtime routine—keep time consistent
  • Create a “calming” ritual such as bedtime stories before bed

In the Morning:

  • For older children, set an alarm and begin to make them responsible for getting themselves up and dressed · Make sure you are ready before they get up so you won’t be delayed ·
  • Create a routine, whether it’s breakfast first, or dressing first
  • Make mealtime easier by limiting their choices or having them choose the night before and set it out
  • Avoid such distractions as the television or video games
  • Increase responsibility as they get older by having them watch the clock for the bus
  • Allow for extra time in the winter, or on bad weather days when it takes longer to get dressed
  • Develop consequences for not being on time

After School:

  • Designate a homework area for each child ·
  • Let the child choose their after-school routine (each child is different) Some may want to relax for an hour, then do homework. Others may want to get their homework done right away so they can do other things—just keep it consistent and allow for any extra –curricular activities
  • Limit the number of extra-curricular activities for each child

The beginning of any school year can be stressful, especially transitions to junior high or high school. Even more stressful is when you move into a new school district. But by establishing routines, and staying ahead of things with a detailed calendar, you and your children will not only enjoy the school year more, but have more family time to spend with each other.


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