It’s that time of year- the heat finally breaks, the days are a bit shorter, and the kids are about to go back to school. Parents and teachers with years of ‘first day of school’ experience still something feel overwhelmed by preparing for a new year. We wanted to offer some simple and actionable tips for making sure you’ve covered everything this year. It is not a comprehensive list, but hopefully hits on some points you have not considered yet.
- Shop for school clothes early and multiple times throughout summer. If possible, plan a shopping trip to update school clothes a bit after school starts, too. You can find deals on warmer weather clothes and fall and winter clothing is available and easy to find.
- Create a list for your school supplies before shopping. You can find a decent set of lists here, but the best way to know you’ve gotten every necessary supply is to reach out to teachers and see if they have a list.
- If your child is involved in any extra curricular activities, it’s best to budget and plan for any needed supplies there. Though you may not need things like athletic gear within the first month of school, knowing what you need and when will provide peace of mind.
- If your child wears glasses or contacts, back to school is the perfect time to grab extra pairs. Kids frequently lose or damage things like that during the school year. Don’t forget things like inhalers, EpiPens, or retainer, either!
- Reach out to your child’s educators and introduce if possible. Usually email is the best way to do so. By opening communication early, you set a precedent and will make any outreach easier. Before school starts is a great time to contact educators and share any important needs your child may have, such as medical information, dietary restrictions, details of an IEP, or even vacations and scheduling changes your child may have planned.
- Set up a communication chain with other school parents and make sure to share this with your child. Every child should know who to contact in an emergency and a back up contact, as well. If your child has a cell phone, make sure to have key contacts saved in their phone and ever consider adding a digital note laying out communication chains.
- Speak with your child about their goals for the year. Focus on academic, social, personal, and extracurricular. Allow them the time to share and make sure they are aligned with you. This conversation will also help you plan the school year, as you look ahead together to things like after school practice, club meetings, study sessions, or social events.
- If your child has an IEP or 504 Plan, make sure to review it and create at least a mental plan for how you will approach its renewal in the coming year. If you feel dissatisfied with the previous year’s IEP, it may be worth reaching out to an expert, such as an advocate and/or lawyer, to make sure you are prepared to get the best for your child.
- If your child is homeschooled, you will have to do a bit of extra work making sure your curriculum is ready to go for the year. You also may want to consider your plan for a homeschool evaluation at the end of the year. Again, it may be best to reach out to an expert about this.
- Review your child’s academic performance from the previous year. If your child will need a tutor or assistance achieving his or her academic goals, try to plan what that will look like before school starts, and be ready with an academic ‘schedule’ for the first week of classes.
There will always be something unexpected that you couldn’t possibly prepare for when school starts, but prepping as best as possible will set you up to manage those surprises with ease. Tap into your network of fellow parents, friends, or professionals to make sure you’ve thought of everything, and reach out to us if you have questions about the services we offer.