The beginning of a new school year can be a challenging time for children and parents, from transitioning to a new grade and meeting new teachers to getting to know a new school. But, with some preparation, making the shift from a laid-back summer to a school routine doesn’t have to be difficult.
“It’s important to begin the routine itself about a week or so ahead of the start of school year. Establishing a designated bedtime, reading and playing math games each day will help your child get back into a routine that will enable them to be more prepared and focused for the new school year,” said Phyllis Hill*, RN, Wayne UNC Health Care.
As parents begin to make the shift back towarda routine, Hill also suggests:
Getting in the school mindset: Establish a routine of having children read every night several weeks before school starts.
Creating a quiet space: Have a designated, organized, clutter-free space for children to complete their homework.
Monitoring health: Take children to their doctor for their physical exam or evaluate any health needs before the school year begins.
Stocking up: Take children to buy school supplies. Children get engaged and excited about the new school year when they can help select their own supplies.
Meeting the teacher: If there’s an opportunity, parents and children should meet their assigned teachers before the first day of school.
Setting expectations: Talk with children about the new school year and set goals for grades, attendance and activities children may want to become involved in.
Staying in touch: Get involved with the child’s school and have regular communication with the teacher – even if it’s over email. Stay on top of how the child is performing academically, socially and behaviorally.
Getting prepared: Navigate school websites, set up the phone app to receive communications on school events, emergencies, delays, early release and other schedule changes. Parents should ensure they have a copy of the schools’ yearly school calendar.
Attending open house: Wayne County schools host open houses several days prior to the first day of school. This offers parents and students the opportunity to meet school staff and assigned teachers, to see the classroom and get a better understanding of where to go on the first day of school.
* Phyllis Hill is the Director of the Wayne Initiative for School Health (WISH), a nonprofit partnership among Wayne UNC Health Care, the county schools and community organizations, provides individualized care to thousands of local middle and high school students in six on-site health centers.