By Mac McCarthy, Zenergo
(Parent of twin girls)
Here are some tips for parents to make sure you haven’t forgotten or overlooked anything, as your kids head off to school.
(If your kids are returning to school, these tips can still be useful — it’s an opportunity to be a little more organized than you were last year!)
Buy sturdy backpacks, they get a lot of abuse.
Don’t overbuy school supplies. Buy the smaller size at first to save space and weight in the schoolbag. You can always adjust as the year goes on. You’ll miss out on some back-to-school sales, but you’ll also miss out on buying in volume only to find out you got the wrong kind of notebooks or pens.
Have a special box at home where your child can place forms from school, so they don’t get overlooked.
Film canisters make good change purses for the school lunchbox.
Be ready the night before – make lunches and snacks and refrigerate; pack backpacks; check first-day needs and requirements; plan the school week; talk to your student. Lay out clothes.
Pack that backpack as light as you can — it should not be more than 10-20% of your child’s weight.
Go to bed and get up at school hours for several days ahead.
Check with the school for signup dates for sports and social club.
If your child has medical concerns, meet with the school nurse.
Arrange for after-school daycare!
Decide on school-day rules – TV times, homework times, bath time, bed time during school week. Then enforce them.
Make a school calendar to hang on the wall, fill in events and school vacation days — make sure your children check it regularly — and you do so too. This calendar will help ensure that you pay attention to school activities and can stay involved.
Getting to school.
Decide on the best route to school.
Walking: Be aware of the busiest routes and intersections; walk with other parents and kids if you can; use this opportunity to teach pedestrian safety to your kids. Biking: Safe biking is a critical new skill you must teach your youngster, and planning the route is important: Bike to school with your child in the week before school starts, so you can both familiarize yourselves with the route and its potential issues.
Driving: When school starts, quiet streets nearest the school will become busier, and traffic jams at the school drop-off points are common — and also dangerous! Be extra careful maneuvering into and out of the drop-off spot — you don’t want to have a fender-bender the first week back to school!
Taking the school bus: Have you got the bus schedule in hand? Talk to your child about bus safety: Stay seated, no wandering around while the bus is moving, use the seat belt if there is one. And look around when exiting the school bus, don’t just dash out the door and out into the street!
One More Tip: Join Zenergo
Zenergo is your social manager, and a great place to connect with other parents, to organize and manage the many activities of the parent with school-age children, and to post pictures and share useful documents. Zenergo can make a big difference in helping you stay a step ahead of school-year chaos!