It is that time of year again – school is about to be in full swing!  Some schools have already started, some will be this week, and others will start over the next couple of weeks.  My older son will be in second grade starting August 27, and the younger one and I will return to our preschool on September 5th.

So, what can you do to get your kids ready to have a terrific year in school?  PLENTY.  Here’s what we’re doing at our house:

  • Cutting back on TV. As much as I would love to say I adhere to the one-hour-a-day rule I mentally made for myself this summer, it didn’t happen.  My job(s) and life took over, and there were times when the Koala Brothers were my Best Friends.  However, it is time to start cracking down.  No more TV at night, and TV at all is limited from now on.  Once school starts, our schedule is pretty tight, so TV is usually an afterthought by then.
  • Mind your mouth (and what goes in it).  Things are pretty lax around here during the summer, but it is time to start focusing on fun HEALTHY snacks and not just popsicles and sodas.  Not only are sodas not great for teeth, but those with caffeine will only make sleeping issues worse and the sugar in them is enough to put your child on a sweet high for a while.  We’re also spending some time this week remembering what foods we like best in our lunch boxes at school so that I can stock up on the essentials next weekend at the store.
  • Tick Tock – time for bed!  While my kids have been pretty good about hitting the hay around 8 each night, it is easy to slip out of that habit with the longer days.  If your child has been up later than normal for the summer, ease back into the routine, going to bed a few minutes early each night.  Hopefully you will be back to your start time in no time!
  • Wardrobe check!  Now is a great time to clean out those closets.  Make sure everything fits and purge those things that won’t work this year.  Donate your gently used clothes to your local Goodwill or thrift store, or pass them along to another child or sibling!  Don’t forget to check shoes, socks and underwear, too.
  • Rehearse the first day.  This is something we do every year.  A couple of days before the actual start of school, we do a “dry run” of our drop off and pick up routine.  Riding the bus?  Practice getting to the bus stop (and time yourself to make sure you’re not late!).  Carpooling?  See if there is a time you can all go through it together.  The more familiar kids are with what is to come, the more comfortable they will be with the situation.  Our school district hosts an open house at each campus a few days before school starts, and kids can drop off their school supplies at that time.  This is a great time to practice routines!
  • Supply yourself with extras.  Snag a few extra boxes of crayons while they are on sale.  Pick up a couple more packages of notebook paper.  Later on in the year, you’ll be looking for a few replacements, and if not, you can always save them for next year’s list!

Easing back into the way things work during the school year is much better for your child than flipping over to “school mode” in one day.  What are your suggestions for making a sucessful transition into the school year?