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Adlen Robinson: It’s time to plan for heading back to school
Adlen Robinson

Even though it feels like we are in the middle of summer, school will be back in session in three short weeks. Don’t let the time creep up on you and make you feel stressed out about the upcoming school year. 

Here are some tips to help you transition from summer vacation to the new year successful. 

Shop early for school supplies. Even if you don’t have your child’s specific classroom list, you can still stock up on supplies you know they’ll need. Things like notebook paper, notebooks, binders, pens, pencils, highlighters, crayons, markers, graph paper, etc. 

Examine your child’s backpack and lunch box. Hopefully they are in good enough shape so you can re-use them again this year, but if not, go ahead and purchase new ones. 

Take a clothing inventory. Look through your child’s closet and drawers to see what clothes they might need. Of course we still have plenty of hot days left before cooler weather comes our way, but perhaps your child had a growth spurt this summer and needs some new clothes for school. 

Go shoe shopping if necessary. I so remember those summers before school began when all four of our children needed new sneakers. That can take some time to find the right ones. If your children need new shoes, why not beat the crowds and go ahead and get them fitted now. 

Plan some tutorial time. Summer break is a great time for children to have “downtime” when it comes to academics — but now is the perfect time to schedule some time to brush up on math and reading skills. 

Set aside small blocks of time every day when your children can study and practice their math and reading — they will feel much more confident and empowered to begin the new school year. 

Talk about goals for the new school year. Whether your child is a top-notch student or has struggles, this is the perfect time to talk about their academic goals and expectations for the new school year. 

If your child does struggle when it comes to academics, think about getting extra help from the get go. It is always easier to head off a problem by being proactive. Once they fall behind, it is much more difficult to catch up. 

Begin moving bedtime up. When children are used to a much later bedtime and then all of a sudden are expected to go to sleep early, the result is usually sleepy and grumpy little people in the morning. Try moving bedtimes up ten or 15 minutes early every few nights to ease everybody into the new school night schedule. 

Plan ahead about lunches. If your child will be bringing a lunch to school, stock up on lunch foods. In addition, make some notes about lunch ideas. Also, stay tuned for an upcoming Friday food column with lunchbox ideas and recipes.

Plan on attending “open house.” Especially for young children, meeting your child’s teacher and visiting the classroom ahead of time is so important. Children feel so much more relaxed on that first day of school when they know where they are going and have already met their teacher. I think this is almost as important for the parents as it is for the students. 

Do some menu planning. After laid back summer evenings, it can be a challenge to get back into a school night routine. Go ahead and jot down some week night menu plans. Dust off your slow cooker and plan on using it for those particularly crazy school nights — those nights when you know you will be juggling homework along with after school activities. 

Talk to your spouse about evening routines with electronic devices and cell phones. It is best to discuss and agree ahead of time how you will handle the school night routine. Will the children do their homework before or after dinner? How much television/electronic time should they have? If your child has a cell phone, are they aloud to have “free reign” time or a scheduled amount? 

Discuss routines and expectations during a family meeting. Once you and your spouse are in agreement, have a family meeting to discuss the school night routine and other rules with your children. Routines are important and even though some children push back on them, most children thrive when they know what is expected of them and what the routine entails. 

Have an awesome school year everybody! 

South Forsyth resident Adlen Robinson is author of “Home Matters: The Guide to Organizing Your Life and Home.” E-mail her at