The start of a new school year has a lot of mixed feelings. Students will be excited to see their friends and spend a lot of time with them, but they may dread all of the homework that comes along with the school learning and fun. Parents sometimes think things will quiet down at the house when the kids go to school — but actually, things usually ramp up.
Things to Do Before School is Back in Session
Regardless of how you feel, school is on its way back and you’ve likely been preparing. Here are a few items that you should add to your to-do list before the first day of school crosses the calendar:
By now, your children’s school should have listed a number of key dates online regarding the upcoming scholastic year. Put these dates into your Calendar as soon as possible. Registration dates, sports tryouts, other tryouts, and parent-teacher conferences are all events that you don’t want to miss.
Sports try-outs in the older grades are likely this weekend or the beginning of next week — so get hopping. Get the day and time on your Calendar and get your stuff together. Hop online quick — today, and sign up. There may be other tryouts at your school (think plays, choir) in the next week so watch the online school information, so you don’t miss it.
There are plenty of other activities and events you can add from the school calendar to your own. For example, many towns and cities like to support their high school football teams. You might want to add all of the upcoming home games to your Calendar so you can try to attend as many as you can. You can even add the school lunch menu calendar so you can decide when to skip that and pack your own lunch.
At the same time I do the above for the kids, I hop on the local university site and add those events we want to attend to my Calendar.
2. Get School Shopping Done
School shopping is such a fun time. Make it special — an event! Grab some lunch or a treat and plan on a pleasant conversation. This is a great time to learn what your child is feeling and thinking about the upcoming school year. The secret is to try and get it done as early as possible.
If you leave school shopping until the last minute, you’ll be scrambling for the last notebook or bumping shoulders with all the other parents trying to complete their lists before the first day of school.
Of course, school shopping in advance can be something of a guessing game — but it’s a blast anyway (I still buy myself some colored pencils of my very own each year).
Many teachers have supply lists that they’ll give to the kids, but usually not with a ton of notice. So do your best to get everything obvious that you might need, or talk to other parents and students about the materials they needed in the past for a certain teacher or subject.
3. Go on One Last Trip
Once school starts, there won’t be a lot of free time during the week. Classes, homework, and after-school activities will be bookended by family dinners and late nights with friends. So before your kids’ time gets completely booked up, take them on one last trip to end the summer.
You don’t have to take the family to Disneyland per se, but try your best to make it memorable. Take a day trip to the nearest amusement parks, take the kids out to their favorite restaurant, and bring their friends along to go to the waterpark one last time. You want summer to conclude on a very positive note.
4. Arrange Transportation
Sometimes getting the kids to school is as easy as them jumping on a bus straight out of the driveway. But for other families, it’s not so simple. Kids from many towns or cities sometimes have to sit on a bus for half an hour or so before they get to school and just as long to get back. Other kids don’t like the noise and teasing that sometimes occurs on a crowded bus with the only chaperone manning the wheel.
If your kids are on the bus for a long time, suggest that they get their school work done, so their time is free when they get home.
A lot of parents like to drive their kids to school. If that applies to you, look for any carpooling options available with friends or neighbors. In addition, you can save a lot of time and gas by sharing calendars with someone else and coordinating driving times.
When your kids are old enough, they’ll be able to start driving themselves to school. Before school begins, give their vehicle a complete tune-up to make sure it’s fully operational before the daily commutes start to pile up.
5. Start Adjusting Your Routine
One of the beauties of summer is the lack of responsibilities and deadlines. The danger is that kids can become too complacent during the extended break and have a difficult time readjusting to a more demanding school schedule. You can help them transition more easily by adjusting their routines now.
Start by getting those alarm clocks set a little earlier each day. School starts notoriously early, so your teenager won’t be able to sleep in until lunch hour anymore (I’m lucky, my kids jump out of bed at the crack of dawn every day and are ready to go). Try to get everyone up a few minutes earlier each day until their bodies are adjusted to waking up in time for classes at 7 A.M or 8 A.M. (whatever time your local school starts).
Going to bed at a decent time will also be important. Late nights full of video games and TV shows will have to be dialed back a notch to get used to an earlier wake time. It’s incredible how little sleep some kids need to make it through a school day, but encourage as healthy of a lifestyle as you possibly can.
Some kids’ bodies function great on just a little sleep, but I’ve noticed that there can be a sharper edge to their happiness meter when they skip the needed hours (the teacher might notice that too).
6. Get a Check-Up
You probably remember how crazy the last school year was (fingers crossed, we don’t have to do that again). The global pandemic closed up every school in the nation for at least a small period of time and made learning a difficult journey through 2020. Parents and kids had to work together to master curriculums while at home, relying on remote learning to keep their education moving while staying safe.
We do not want a repeat of 2020 for this upcoming school year. Make it a point to get your entire family’s health checked out and take the necessary precautions to make this an uneventful school year. Consider getting tested for Covid-19 and receiving a vaccination if you haven’t already, and keep an eye out for any other health trends that will ensure this school year is as normal as possible.
Getting back to school is such an exciting time of year — but no one is ever fully prepared for school to resume. Tackling these items on your to-do Calendar list will certainly help you feel accomplished and prepared.
The next few months will be busy, as represented by your Calendar, but the experiences you and your children will have throughout will be unforgettable.
Image Credit: tima miroshnichenko; pexels; thank you!