Take a Behavioral Pulse™
Starting School Right

By Elizabeth Blake, Ph.D.

Hey Parents! Summer is almost over and it will be time for school to start before you know it. Here is a list to help you get ready for school without rushing around like crazy that last week.

Four weeks before school starts:

School registration should be finished

Make sure the summer homework is completed

Schedule doctor and dentist appointments

Start a school supply checklist

Create clothes shopping budget

Transportation to and from school

Make afterschool arrangements

Three weeks before school starts:

Start buying school supplies (stick to your budget!)

Establish a central location for all the supplies you purchase, so you can find them during the school year

Get the school calendar from school/district

Highlight all important dates, such as parent conference, SATs, ACTs, school holidays and early dismissals

Coordinate dates with family calendar

Add any after school activities, such as music lessons, exam prep classes, sports practices and games

If your child is college bound in next two years, add college fairs and college nights to calendar
 Visit the local library

Make sure each child has a library card

Set up some play dates so your child can reconnect with school friends

Schedule haircuts

Play brain stimulating games to get kids thinking/problem solving, such as Scrabble, Apples to Apples, Qwirkle, etc.

Plan last quick fun activity for your family, such as the zoo, amusement park, picnic or hiking in a State Park

Two weeks before school starts:

If this is a new school visit child’s school and find their classroom together. Locate the bathrooms, cafeteria, gym and main office.

For older children, go over class schedule and look at how they will get from one class to another

Review the basic subjects
Pull out the end of last year’s math and reading

Go over math facts and ABC’s

Help clean and organize their room

Refocus on daily and weekly chore lists child is responsible for

One week before school starts:

Start changing your child’s sleeping and eating schedule to match their school schedule

Go to any orientations or meet the teacher events

Fill out all the additional school paperwork and turn them in right away

Go over transportation schedules

If carpooling, review with other parent(s) what the schedule is

If child is on school bus, get a copy of the route and drive it with your child to familiarize him as to where it goes and where it stops

Take your child grocery shopping

Pick out healthy snacks and meals for school

Decide if child will have breakfast at home or school

Go over cafeteria hours, costs and offerings

Create a space your child will do their homework

If your child will be on-line for homework set up rules about using the computer and where they can access it

Set up homework time now

Get child started by reading something fun (such as comic books, magazines, stories) during the scheduled time

Get excited about going back to school

Talk about what you think they will be learning this year or activities they will participate in

With your guidance, your child can have a wonderful school year and a great school attitude.