Tot Talk Tuesday: Preparing Kiddos for School

August is here.  Are you planning the last summer get-a-way while you still have the time to steal away or are you trudging along, counting the days till you can send ’em packing and get “your” time back again?  I bet you are somewhere in the middle.  It’s a busy and bittersweet month as you prepare your little ones for back-to-school. 

This month’s blog posts will be specifically related to preparing for school–information parents can use to ease their mind, tips for tots, and streamlining household routines.  There will be a brief hiatus mid-month as our family heads east for a last-minute trip to Cape Cod.  But otherwise, it’s time to gear up and take some notes.  I think you’ll find lots of helpful hints and tips this month on “Leslie 4 Kids.”

Preparing your Kiddos for School:

Whether you are sending them to preschool for the first time or starting a whole new grade, there’s lots to do.  Here are some common back-to-school things you’ll want to start marking off your to-do list.  Some are practical, while others are more on the coping realm. 

  • M.D. physicals (forms, please)
  • Eye exams (our state requires them before entering kindergarten)
  • Dental exams
  • Make copies of the doc’s bill of health for your records, schools often “mysteriosly” misplace them.  Keep them neatly filed by kid.
  • Get those school supplies before they get picked over or the great sales are gone.  Stock up and buy a second set for home use.  While you’re at it, it never hurts to get a few “extras” like glitter glue, foam core, and construction paper for those projects your kids forget to tell you about until the day before…
  • Start stockpiling the retail coupons for back-to-school outfitters.  You’ll be glad you did when you walk into Gymboree!  (clothing post coming next week)
  • Start talking to your kid(s)–especially the newbies–about school.  “Soon you’ll be going to school.  Let’s look at the calendar. I’ll show you the day.”
  • Read books about the first day of school.  Have them make their own book about school. 
  • Drive by your child’s school on your way home from running errands, “Oh look!  There’s your school.  Neat, huh?” 
  • Let your child play on the playground.  Pack a picnic and head on over at lunchtime or dinner.  He’ll feel good knowing he’s explored a new place with you at his side.
  • Make sure you attend the “open house” or “meet the teacher” event at your child’s school.  Go, be excited and enthusiastic.  Make point of meeting someone from her classroom that she’ll remember on the first day.
  • Talk to other parents, even if you’re a bit reserved.
  • Let your child have some say in his backpack. 
  • Let her ask questions.  Answer them honestly.
  • Remind her that she’ll never be alone at school…there is always someone there to ask for directions/clarification, help get on the bus, or direct her to her classroom. 
  • If he’ll be eating lunch there, let him help you shop for yummy lunchbox treats.  A cute lunch box is a must!  Try timing lunch–most places want kids to eat in 15-20  minutes. 
  • Play school at home.  Better yet if your child has siblings–they can practice being teacher and student, create routines and “homework.” 
  • Speaking of homework, most grade levels (even Kindergarten) have some form of homework.  Start now by getting your child used to the idea.  Little workbooks, craft projects, or quite time coloring or handwriting practice is a good way to sneak it in.  Have a designated area for homework. 

Most of all, have fun!  Learning is everywhere.  Learning is forever.

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