Preparing for School
Even if your child has already been in some sort of program, even kindergarten, the start of a new school year is challenging. WebMD offers a to-do list to help make the transition much easier:
- Call your child’s school or check the school’s web site to prepare for enrolling your child. You may need proof of residence or vaccination records.
- Schedule a visit with the doctor's office for a flu vaccine and other vaccinations that are required.
- Fill out emergency contact information and names of people who can pick up your child. Also, notify the school about your child’s health needs, medications, or allergies.
- Call neighbors and friends about carpooling. Introduce your child to the other drivers and riders before school starts. That will help make your child more comfortable about riding in a carpool.
- Arrange for after-school care. Make sure your child knows where to go each day, and how to get there.
- Review the school’s policy on sick days, and figure out who will care for your child on sick days.
- Prepare a plan for what to do if your child gets sick and has to stay home for a few days. Keep your child home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, and keep any siblings home, too.
Routines to Make Life Easier
- Remind your child about pedestrian, biking, and bus safety. Guide them to use cross walks, safe paths, and to never walk behind buses.
- Plan some appealing healthy snacks and lunches with your child that they can help pack. Teach your child how to choose healthy foods at school.
- Establish rules for when homework gets done and where. Talk about your expectations for how school fits in with extracurricular activities. Also discuss age-appropriate chores for after school.
- Set up a place in your home to put things that go to school (backpacks, papers, books, etc.). Take a few minutes before bed each night to put things there for the next morning.
- As part of your child’s bedtime routine, plan a bit for the next day. Set out breakfast foods and clothes with your child.
- Set a bed time and stick to it. Calming rituals -- bath, reading, and soft music -- will help. Your child will awaken fresh, with less fuss, if you set a regular schedule.
- One simple rule can reduce chaos and distractions in the morning: No TV before school.
Chats to Have With Your Child
- Find a quiet time to talk with your child about their feelings about starting school. (Find someone other than your child to talk with about your own anxieties.)
- Help your child memorize your home address and the phone number you use most often.
- Help keep your child healthy. Teach your child to cough and sneeze into a tissue or elbow or shoulder is a tissue isn't available. Also, talk about healthy hand washing and healthy sharing of toys and personal items.
- Review with your child guidelines about talking with strangers and getting into other people’s cars.
- Talk with your child about being kind to others, making friends, and how to handle bullying and teasing.
Things to Buy for Your Child
- Pick up basic school supplies, such as pencils, paper, art supplies, a backpack, and lunch box.
- Choose mix-and-match school clothes. Be sure you have gym clothes if needed, and jacket or coat.