Top 10 Tips for Back to School

It seems like it was just the other day we were bracing ourselves for another hot Arizona summer – and now, across the Valley, kids and parents are gearing up for the first day of school. Here is a list of 10 back to school tips to help prepare you and your child for a successful school year.

1.)    Confirm the date school starts and when your child should arrive. Highlight this date on the family calendar so everyone knows well in advance. This will help reduce last minute stress. Find out important school phone numbers, school hours and how to report any absences before you need them. Post this information on the refrigerator or some place that is accessible for everyone in the family to see.

2.)    During the summer it is easy to let your child stay up later than normal or get off their daily routine to allow for summer time activities and events. But it’s a good idea to start back on the “school day” routine a week before school starts, so your child is back in the groove and getting enough sleep.

3.)    In the event the school needs to reach you or someone in your family, make sure you have filled out emergency contact information. Keep this information up-to-date if there are any changes throughout the school year.

4.)    Have an emergency plan with you child – do not wait for something bad to happen to create a plan! If your child walks or rides a bike to school, make sure they have a buddy or stay with a group to and from school. Review the route with them and stress the importance of staying on the route (no short cuts!). Have a safety plan if someone approaches them; teach them what to do and how to call for help. If your child is old enough, they should know how to dial 911!

5.)    To ensure the best learning opportunity for your child, you should have their vision and hearing tested before school starts. If they need to wear glasses or require special seating arrangements, review this with their teachers before the first day of school.

6.)    Meet your child’s teachers – ask lots of questions about their school year curriculum, teaching preferences and grading styles. Find out how their teacher(s) would like to communicate with you – via phone or email or both.

7.)    Get involved and stay involved in your child’s learning – mark all school events on the family calendar.

8.)    Know the bus routes, pick up and drop off times. Make sure you child knows what bus # they are suppose to take to and from school. Have a family plan if your child should accidently miss the bus.

9.)    School Supplies – be familiar with what your child or children will need for their grade in school supplies. Ask their teachers what will be provided and what you need to provide, especially when it comes to special projects. Some basics all kids, no matter what grade will need are:

  • Back pack
  • Lunch box
  • Pens (assorted colors)
  • Pencils, including colored pencils
  • Crayons
  • Erasers
  • Spiral note books, sheet paper
  • Highlighters
  • Glue sticks
  • Pocket folder

10.)   Shopping for School Clothes – be sure you know about your child’s school dress code before you spend money on clothes. Make sure they have plenty of the appropriate gym clothes (if applicable).

  • Before you go shopping, take a quick inventory of what your child already has and what they will need. Donate or take their good, used clothes to a consignment shop for cash.
  • Stock up on the basics, like socks and underwear and any other items your child uses a lot throughout the year.
  • Looks for coupons, specials – a great place to shop for a discount is at outlet stores or online through “over stock” websites.
  • Be familiar with current trends – there is no sense buying your child something they will not wear if they do not think it is “cool.” Know what is appropriate for your child’s age before you go shopping - it will safe you the headache of returns later!