Article / Published Jul 28, 2016

The Back-to-School Warm-Up

Summer may seem like it’s still in full swing, but the start of school is not far away. While it may not be quite time to go into full-on back-to-school panic mode, this is a good time to get warmed up—and take some of the stress out of those final countdown days. Here’s how:

1. Plan your school day routine

Think about a typical day last year. When did you and your kids feel rushed or frazzled (ok, more rushed and frazzled than usual)? How would you want to adjust this year? The answer isn’t always a dramatic change. Sometimes, waking up just 5 minutes earlier each day or moving homework time after dinner rather than before can make a big difference.

2. Get back into the school-week rhythm

During the summer, kids often go to bed and get up later than usual. Resetting the whole schedule the night before the first day of school is a recipe for trouble. Start moving them back to the usual routine a week or two in advance, 10 or 15 minutes per day.

3. Figure out your attendance backup plan

We can’t stress this enough – absences are a big deal. Every day counts. But life happens. When something goes wrong, how will you make sure your kids still get to school? Think about what you’d do and who you’d call. Try pairing up with a friend or neighbor so that you both know the other one will jump in to help if needed.

4. Put school events in your calendar

Most schools publish their calendars in advance of the school year. Use your phone’s calendar to record and remind you about days off, parent-teacher conference nights, and other events. It takes a few minutes to enter them all, but not being caught off guard makes it all worth it, and will make it easier to schedule doctor’s appointments and family trips without missing school.

5. Talk about the coming school year

Talking about school helps communicate to your kids that it’s a priority for you. Look over last year’s report cards with your kids and ask them what they want to work on this year. Where they had good grades, what worked well and how will they stay on track? Where they struggled, what can everyone do differently to have a better year this year? Make it a positive conversation: This is a fresh start.

EdTip: Do Some Brain Warm-Ups
Kids' math and reading skills often get rusty over the summer. Use the last weeks of summer to push your child to finish the books on his or her summer reading list and mix some math into your bedtime routine.