For parents who have kids going back to school or starting school in the fall, the last weeks of summer can often be a flurry of chaos as you try to make sure everybody is ready to go. Spreading out back to school responsibilities throughout the summer months can help you feel less frantic and keep those last weeks calmer, making it easier for your child to return to school with a positive and relaxed attitude.
Back to School Tips for June
1. Stop in at your child's school and pick up any back to school forms that you might need to have filled out over the summer, such as sports physical forms, medication administration forms or vaccination records. Most school secretaries work for a few weeks after school gets out and many school administrators can be found in their offices a few days a week during the summertime.
2. Purchase a few good books (or visit the local library) for your child to read over the summer. It's good to keep his brain engaged and in the habit of word recognition and comprehension. At a loss for books to buy? Check out these reading lists for suggestions:
First Grade Summer Reading List
Second Grade Summer Reading List
Third Grade Summer Reading List
Fourth Grade Summer Reading List
Fifth Grade Summer Reading List
3. Start a summer writing journal with your child. If you're taking any vacations this summer, a journal is a great way to practice writing and to create some lasting memories of the trip. Even if you're just hanging around for the summer, a few good journal prompts can take your child's mind and pencil to far off places.
Back to Schools Tips for July
1. Schedule a back to school well-child checkup for your child. Not only is it a good idea to make sure she's growing as she should be, but if she needs to start any medications or therapies, summer is a good time to get those started. It's also a good time to check that your child's vaccinations are up to date and to schedule another appointment for a sports physical if your child will be playing any sports in the fall. Most sports physical forms can't be dated any earlier than 30 days prior to beginning the sport, so the appointment will have to be in August.
2. Sneak some math into your everyday activities to keep your child's brain sharp. It doesn't matter whether you're in the kitchen, on the road or at the grocery store, there's always something mathematical going on. For the more concrete child, consider printing out math worksheets to practice a variety of skills, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, money sense and fractions.
3. Speak to your child's doctor if you have concerns about his backpack being too heavy. Many students, especially in the intermediate and middle-school years, start carrying many books and thus place large amounts of weight on their backs. If this is causing your child discomfort, ask your doctor if he's willing to write a note supporting a request for a second set of books to keep at home.
4. Draft an introduction letter to your child's new teacher, especially if he has special needs or has a different learning style than many other children. The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support (OASIS) center provides a great introduction letter that can be personalized to describe your child's strengths and deficits as well as give his teacher some strategies of how to work well with him.
Back to Schools Tips for August
1. Submit in writing to your school's principal any out-of-the-ordinary requests you have for the upcoming year. This is the time to send in the letter requesting a second set of books or (if necessary) to provide a letter of exemption explaining your choice not to vaccinate your child. This will give the school some time to process your request.
2. Start creeping back toward a back to school bedtime. Your child's sleep patterns need to be back to normal before the first day of school so that he's been getting enough sleep for a substantial amount of time before his brain springs into full action mode.
3. Ease away from an open door refrigerator policy and start implementing specific meal- and snack-times again. Remember, when your child returns to school, her stomach gets put on a schedule too. Plus, healthier eating habits help to create better learners. A well fed child can focus more easily in the classroom.
4. Purchase school supplies. If your child's teacher has sent a list of supplies he'll need this shouldn't be a problem. However, if a list is not readily available, it's better to purchase the bare minimum with which to begin school (pencils, a backpack and a few notebooks) and go shopping after the first day of school. That way your child doesn't have a bunch of stuff he can't use and you're not spending more money than you can really afford.
5. Invest in a sturdy backpack. There are a number of cute character backpacks on the market to appeal to kids, but make sure your child's backpack will hold up and hold what she needs it to hold. Make sure the backpack has two shoulder straps to evenly distribute weight, is big enough to hold a lunchbox, 8" x 12" folders and notebooks and still have room for extras like sweatshirts and gym sneakers. Note: Some schools have banned rolling backpacks because of issues getting on and off the bus. Check with your school before buying one.
6. Review bus etiquette and safety with your child or,if this will be her first year on the bus, try to arrange a "tour" with the bus company. Many children have bus-related anxieties which can be alleviated simply by providing more information.