The start of the new school year is right around the corner, and whether you are ready or not, it is time to start thinking about how you can set your little one up for success. This might be their first year of school ever or they may be a seasoned student, either way it is time to start getting your family ready for the new year. There are a few things you can start doing at home to prepare for the new school year with your little one:

Read Books

This is a great idea for any child starting school for the first time. The best way to prepare your child for their school career is to talk about what to expect. You can do this by reading books about others who are going through a relatable situation. Use the characters in the books as a jumping off point to talk about feelings, what a school day is like, and when to expect mom/dad to come back and pick them up. The following are a few good choices to get you started!

Practice With The Lunchbox

Once your child goes back to school, they won’t have quite as much time to eat lunch like they may have had over the Summer. Schools have schedules to follow and many students to feed, so the lunch period is often a quick 15/20 minutes. It is a good idea to give your little one plenty of time to practice with their lunchbox and all accessories, so they have enough time to eat.

Let your child work on independently opening and closing the lunchbox and any containers. While they may have help from a teacher at school, remember that teacher has a whole class of students to assist, so the more your child can do on their own, the better off they are. It is also a good idea to practice eating lunch in a smaller time frame, so your child doesn’t feel quite as rushed once school starts.

Wear Those New Shoes Before The First Day

I know how exciting it is to pick out those back to school shoes and how important it is to try and keep them perfectly clean for those first day of school pictures. Keep in mind, your child might have only worn those shoes for 2 or 3 minutes when trying them on at the store, so now having to wear them for 7 hours a day could be tough. Give your little one a chance to stretch out the shoes and get comfortable walking around in them. Depending on the grade they are going into, also work on tying shoes & taking them on/off independently.

Start Going To Bed Early

It takes time for anybody to adjust to a new routine, and you don’t want to start this adjustment on the first day of school. Spend the last few weeks of Summer by establishing your school routine. Start setting an alarm and waking up early, find the right bedtime and begin getting your little one’s adjusted to this new schedule. In the mornings get dressed,  eat breakfast, and attempt to get out the door early like you would for school. Practicing this routine will help your family adjust to the new schedule, as well as work out any timing issues so you can have a smooth first few weeks of school.

Pick Out a Backpack & New Clothes

Start to build some excitement! The first day of school is an exciting start to the new school year. Your little one has a new teacher, a chance to make new friends, start some new extra-curricular activities and make some new memories. Let your little one also pick out a new backpack, lunchbox, or an outfit or two to help keep them excited. Just as with anything else, give your child a chance to practice opening/closing their backpack, or putting it on their back. The more practice you do before school, the better prepared your little one will be for the year.

Practice Getting Unbuckled/Out of Carseat

*Of course, this isn’t applicable to every student.*  While you are preparing for the school day in general, think about the drop off and pick up situation your school offers. Some schools require parents to stay in the car, in a car line, so your child has to be able to quickly get out of their seat and into the building on their own. It is also a good idea to practice the reverse – practice opening the car door, getting into their seat and independently buckling their seat belt, just as they would at the end of day.

Attend Any Back to School Activities

What I mean by this is, attend the “meet the teacher” social type of events that your school might offer before the school year starts. Meeting your child’s teacher, and being able to put a face to the name, is great for both your child and the teacher. Depending on what your school events are, take advantage of the opportunities to see the school and staff members before the year begins. Doing so, may also help ease any nerves or anxiety you or your little one is feeling about the school year.

Set Up a School Space at Home

With the new school year comes new homework and projects that have to get done as well. Set up a quiet space in your home that will work for your children to do their homework. Also be sure your space is well stocked in common school supplies – pencils, erasers, crayons, highlighters, rulers, etc. If you don’t have a separate space to keep schoolwork, have a plan of where you are going your little ones are going to do their homework and help everyone stay organized.

As with any change, anticipate some heightened feelings surrounding the start of the new school year. Your little one might be feeling a mix of emotions, let that happen and support them however you can. Talk through the fears and nerves, match their excitement, and offer extra hugs and kisses when needed. School is exciting, but it is also something new – whether that be a new school, a new teacher, or a new experience being away from home all together. Wishing you and your little ones a successful new school year!

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