4 Tips for Prepping Your Child to Go Back to School

Getting your child ready to head back to school doesn't have to be so hard.

The weeks leading up to heading back to school aren't always easy for both children and their parents alike. Children may be feeling both excited and sad to leave the freedom of summer, while their parents may also be feeling eager to get their young ones back into classes but also anxious for how their children might take it. This is especially be true for families who experienced a big change over the summer such as a divorce or separation.

Prepping your child for going back to school after a huge transition can be more complex than other years may have been, but the right strategies can help your family get through it. Here are four tips for prepping your child to go back to school.

Make School Supplies Shopping a Team Effort

Probably the most exciting part of going back to school for many children is going shopping for their uniforms, notebooks, pencils, and all the things they need for the new year. As co-parents, try to coordinate your efforts in purchasing school supplies for your child. Have a plan for handling the costs of these items between each other. If you wrote a plan for handling school-related expenses in your parenting plan, you'll likely follow that.

More than just the costs, coordinate trips to the store to buy these supplies. If possible, set up a time for each of you to go shopping with your child for the basic supplies that they'll need in both homes like colouring and writing tools, paper, and more. Even if only one of you picks up the bigger items that your child needs like a backpack and clothes, each going to get basic supplies will help your child recognise that you are both interested in their schooling and help them to become more excited for the new year.

Talk to Their Teachers and Coaches

This summer may have been incredibly difficult for your family, and it's not unlikely for your children to carry some of that stress into the new school year. They may express it by acting out in class, remaining quiet, missing homework assignments, or being disinterested in things they loved the year before. Consider speaking to your child's teachers, coaches, counsellors, and any other adults that will be interacting with your child on a regular basis about what your child experienced over the summer. This will help those adults understand where their behaviour may be stemming from and find a healthy, understanding way to handle it. Additionally, the school needs to have your correct contact information and details about who will be picking up and dropping off your child at school and other related events. 

Visit The School

Going to a new school can be scary for even the bravest of children. A child may attend a new school for a reason as simple as moving up in years or moving to a new neighbourhood. No matter the case, if your child is going to a new school, take them to visit their new school before the first day. Walk the hallways to get to their different classrooms, tour the lunch room, and help them find and set up their locker. Having a sense of direction on the first day of class can make a huge difference to improve what could otherwise be a very scary day. 

Talk About School

Do your best to encourage your child to talk about how their time at school was each day. If simply asking, "How was your day?" does illicit much of a response from your child, get creative with your questions. Ask about things like what the best thing they learned today was, what they ate for lunch, and if they had any challenging moments that they overcame with a lesson or with friends. Even if your child doesn't give you too much information each day, knowing that you are interesting in hearing about it helps them to feel your support.

Prepping your child to go back to school is more than just getting the supplies and talking to teachers. It's really about helping your child to start the year on a confident foot.