Last Thursday, I found an advertisement for a “Back to School” sale in my mailbox. I knew these flyers would be coming, but I cetainly didn’t expect them the same week as 4th of July! Why anticipate the beginning of school just minutes after the previous school year has ended?!
Nevertheless, it got me thinking (which is why I dread those July mailings) about the upcoming Fall. After some consideration, I came up with a list of ideas to help my twice-exceptional son (and others) prepare for the first days of school.
1. Allow for the much-needed down time before embarking on “Operation School Prep.” Just because Target is preparing now, doesn’t mean you have to!
2. Visit the school and playground. Once closer to the first day, consider asking for an opportunity to see the classroom or building. Also, ask about any “meet the teacher” activities that might be scheduled.
3. Respect your child’s level of comfort with shopping for clothes & school supplies. I have found shopping on line saves a lot of time and energy. One of my favorite sites to purchase pants for my growing son is ZB clothes! In terms of the dreaded supply list, it is critical to see if the items will “belong” to your child or be shared by all. This prevents any confusion or desire to select “special” pencils or a larger set of watercolors.
4. Begin to eat lunch at home close to the school lunch time. For my son, this will help tremendously!
5. Be upfront with the school about previous school issues, but there is no need to list every infraction. Ask to meet with the principal to share strengths, concerns, and strategies.
6. Resist the urge to email the teacher before school starts! Instead, send a card wishing her a great new school year. It doesn’t hurt to include a small gift card.
7. Start re-establishing bedtime routines earlier vs. later in August.
8. Expect some level of stress and anxiety. Ask what questions your child is most concerned about…You might be able to get some answered ahead of time.
9. Begin to slowly build up stamina for academics. If the reading expectation is 20 minutes in 2nd grade, start in early August at 5 minutes and work up to it.
10. Once school begins, clear the social schedule for several weeks-this allows for plenty of recovery time after school and extra down time on the weekends
11. There will be some challenging days. Be ready to be the sounding board for those tougher days.
12. Finally, put a supportive note in your child’s backpack or lunch. It could be just the kind words he needs on a rough day!
Does this list ensure success? Not necessarily, but I believe that these things will help for a smoother transition. What will be on your back to school list?
I always intended the last two years to start transitioning into the evening and morning routines for school in early August, then about a week before school starts I realize in a panic that I never got around to it! Maybe this early reminder will help me! 🙂
This year, like you mentioned with easing into the reading time, I would like to start easing into some structured, “sitting” time for my older one. We love that his daycare provider spends most of the day outside playing in the summer, because that works well for our guy, but it makes for a hard transition when school starts. He is used to very little structure and lots of active running time, then has to quickly adjust to sitting more and a very structured routine. I’d like to start slowly with some scheduled and timed reading, coloring, etc. activities to get him back in the routine of that for school.
I love the “sitting time” stamina building! As an elementary teacher, I can tell you that is so hard for many! Great comments!
This is a fantastic list and so useful. Thanks for sharing. Livi is not yet old enough but it’s good to be aware ahead of time.
I am so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for stopping by!
I love your numbers 6 and 12! Sending a personal note via snail mail will get such a better response than an email that will have helped to clutter his/her inbox. LOVE IT!
Putting a note in the box or backpack is inspirational and helps the child fight any negative emotion with those long hours.
Love this list.
As a teacher, I have seen how a note from home at lunch can encourage a child after a challenging morning. I also prefer the handwritten note because the email can imply that an email back is required.
Thanks for your continued support;)