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Mar-08-2017 13:30printcomments

Back to School Advice for Parents

It's always a good time to make life more enjoyable.

Dayton Oregon school bus
Youngsters can enjoy more great days at school with a little preparation.
Photo: Bonnie King,

(SALEM, Ore.) - Whether you’re the parent of a preschooler or a teenager, preparing for a brand new school year can be a struggle. And every new year brings different surprises with it, because your child will have different needs as he or she gets older.

However, by planning ahead of time, you can make sure you’ve got everything ready well before the first day arrives.

From kindergarten to senior year, these tips will help you and your family get ready to have a productive and fulfilling school year.

Preparing for a new school

Maybe you’ve just moved to a new school district, or maybe your child is making a big transition into the first year of elementary, middle, or high school.

Moving can be hard on children, especially when it comes to making new friends at school. Take the time to sit down with your child both before and after the school year starts to see how he or she is adjusting.

If your child is making a transition in grades, then it can be a good opportunity to talk to him or her about what kind of changes to expect. The older your child gets, the more will be expected of him or her in the classroom.

If your child is struggling with a new workload, then you may decide to spend some time with him or her on homework or even invest in a tutor. But before the school year starts, it’s important to talk to your child about what to expect.

Getting on a school schedule

After a long and carefree summer, your child’s sleep schedule might need some readjusting.

Start encouraging your child to tweak his or her schedule at least a few weeks before the first day of school – it’s much easier to make a gradual change over time than to try to get back on a school schedule overnight. On top of that, it will help your child to be well behaved once school starts.

You will also want to focus on how your child is spending his or her time after school hours, especially if he or she is involved in extracurricular activities.

Make sure your child has plenty of time and a comfortable environment where he or she can do homework after school, and help him or her plan out a time to get it done every day.

Shopping for supplies

Depending on your child’s grade level, your shopping list will look very different. Typically, preschoolers and those at elementary school need many more supplies than older students, especially when it comes to arts and crafts.

A toddler backpack from the company that understands the requirements of toddler backpacks for preschool will help to keep your child’s belongings organized.

Fortunately, it’s a bit easier to shop for middle school and high school-aged students – a basic set of pencils, pens, folders and notebooks will be a good start.

Before you shop for your older child, though, it’s often easier to wait until after the first day: many teachers put a list of supplies on the syllabus, which will make it easy for you to put together a shopping list.

Meeting your child’s needs

Every child has unique needs, and some of them require extra planning or accommodations at school. For example, if your child has special dietary restrictions, you will probably be packing a lot of lunches at home.

But it can also be a good idea to look into the food your school’s cafeteria has to see if there are any options available for your child – and your school may even be open to suggestions.

Another important consideration for some parents is preparing children with learning disabilities for school.

If your child has a learning disability and you are just getting him or her into school, find an opportunity to talk with your child’s teachers and even the principal, beforehand.

Not only will this help you know what to expect, but it will give you a chance to voice your child’s needs to the people who will see him or her every day.

Making a back-to-school checklist

The best way to make sure you have everything ready for the new year is to write it all down. Make a list of everything you need to do and buy before the big day arrives, and give yourself ample time to get it all done.

Whether your child is starting their first day of preschool or walking into their senior year, the tips here can help you make sure you’re ready as a parent.


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