We tend to remember the obvious back to school items, e.g., school supplies, new clothes, backpacks and lunchboxes. Don’t forget the not so obvious items as they are also important.
- Register Your Child
I always like to state the obvious. For our school district, children need to be 5 years old as of September 1st to attend kindergarten.
- Prepare Cheat Sheet (Kindergarten only)
Pin an index card to your child’s clothing the first week or two of school. The index card should contain the following pertinent information: child’s name, bus number or color, teacher, and any significant allergies, e.g. peanut.
- Attend Sneak Peek (Preview)
If your school sponsors a sneak peek, I highly recommend attending it. Prior to the first day of school, our school holds a sneak peek (preview), where school is open to all students and parents for 1 hour. Due to traffic and parking, they divide the classes in half and offer two sessions;
- Grades 3 – 5 only, and
- Grades K – 2 only.
A sneak peak is a great opportunity to meet your teacher, locate your child’s classroom, tour the school, and meet classmates. It serves to help alleviate any anxieties your child may have regarding the first day of school.
- Obtain Bus Schedule
A few days before school starts, obtain your child’s bus information, e.g. number / color, location of bus stop. Our school recommends arriving 10 minutes early and to wait at least 10 minutes past the pick-up time. It may take a few days for the drivers to get acclimated to their schedules. If your child is a walker, show your child the safest route to school and make sure he knows what time school starts. We have a first bell and late bell which are 10 minutes apart to help children get to class on time. Make sure you discuss safety issues with your child, e.g. walk in crosswalks.
- Update Emergency Information
Make sure you submit your child’s student emergency information form to your school and update any changes, e.g. address, telephone numbers. This important information allows you to be contacted promptly if your child is sick or injured.
- Verify Immunizations and Vaccines
Make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date. Also check to make sure your tetanus shot is current; adults need to get a booster shot every 10 years. In addition, schedule your child’s flu vaccine in the fall, e.g. late September or October.
- Update Child’s Cafeteria Account
My children pack their lunches most days, but they do enjoy a treat every now and then, e.g. ice cream sandwiches. Our school offers an automated system that allows me to pay via internet but that convenience comes at a price so I bring in a check while attending the sneak peek. To avoid any confusion, make sure you include your child’s first name, last name, and an appropriate ID number. If you qualify for free and/or reduced-price meals, submit your application. Our school district bases eligibility on family size and income. For additional information, go to your school’s website or call them directly.
- Obtain School Calendar
Unfortunately, when my son was in kindergarten I inadvertently missed a school event. He was very distraught (at not getting his free donut at Moms & Muffins). As a result, I began to enter all activities and events into Microsoft Outlook. At the beginning of the school year, I obtain the school calendar and enter all pertinent information for the entire school year. You can also use a planner or calendar. At a minimum, have a copy of the school calendar handy and refer to it regularly. School events mean a lot to our children so do not be like me and miss it!
- Attend Back-to-School Night
Keep informed about the time your school sets aside for you to meet with teachers. My husband and I look forward to talking to both of our children’s teachers without them present. Make sure you line up a babysitter or contact a friend or family member. Why not make dinner reservations and make it a date night!
Please visit our back-to-school section for more helpful articles and activities to get your little ones ready for school.