Top 21 Ideas to Prepare for Back To School

The carefree days of summer are winding down. Back To School starts now and it’s an exciting time of the year. Hello teachers, hello friends, hello books! For parents and kids alike, it’s time to look forward to an exciting and productive school year. To reduce stress all around, the key is getting organized. To help, NJ Kids has come up with great ideas for school readiness:

1. Start early and establish a bedtime routine a week or two before school starts.

2. Buy a reliable alarm clock, and get them used to waking up on their own. No snoozing or just 5 more minutes!

3. Organize clothes drawers. Have your child participate and try on the clothes. Take out those items that do not fit. After a summer growth spurt, half the clothing will bound to be too small, too tight, or too short. Donate to others in need, to a younger child, or to a local organization.

4. Have a designated desk or table just for homework. Organize the homework area with the proper school supplies - pencils, pens, markers, glue, highlighters, index cards, computer, and printer. Okay, this sounds like a home office, but it may make them take their school work seriously.

5. Organize the backpack. Make use of all its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. Go through the pack with your child weekly, and remove unneeded items to keep it light. The backpack should not weigh more than 10%-15% of a child’s weight.

6. Create an “organization station” in a convenient location by the entrance door. Get one basket for each child for belongings, books, hat, gloves, sport equipment, include hooks for backpacks and coats if possible.

7. Create a family calendar that tracks everyone’s activities and commitments. Include big assignments, tests, field trips, and sports games. Hang paper calendar where it's visible to all, on a pantry door or refrigerator. A web based sharing Google calendar works well for older kids.

8. Print out a class schedule and send it with child for first few days.

9. Eat a good breakfast so that one can concentrate in school. Make a list of favorite food items for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Go to the supermarket or big box stores to buy items in bulk, store in pantry or refrigerator.

10. If you have to pack your child's lunch, plan ahead the night before for what you want to put in their lunchbox the next morning. 

11. Talk to them about their excitement and fears. Every child goes through this. Don't forget to ask them about their school day.

12. Get the kids involved in some of the decision making process. Ask them what they would like to participate in. Forward school / club emails to older kids so they take equal responsibility.

13. Go over house rules, chores, and particularly video game playing, social media, and iPad viewing.

14. Don’t overbook them, especially the first few weeks of school. Downtime gives kids time to decompose, do homework, and adjust to school.

15. Do your bedtime routine unrushed. Pick out clothes the night before, or another idea, for the late risers, let them sleep in their clothes, so they simply wake and go.

16. Sign up now for fall sports and enrichment programs! Search our Class & Activities Directory.

17. Plan ahead for your child's birthday party. NJ Kids party ideas.

18. Plan for plenty of rewards for good behavior - a toy, extra video game time, iPad time, or an ice cream treat are some ideas. You can't go wrong by giving praise with plenty of hugs!

19. If your child is going to a new school, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.

20. And finally, smile, laugh and stress less because one day school will be over!

21. Repeat #20. One day, this will all be a blur.

Happy first day of school!