Back-to-School: Six Tips for Parents to
Get Your Child Ready for a New School Year
With summer vacation wrapping up in the next couple of weeks, millions of U.S. children will make their yearly trek back to school. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, there’s some work to be done … namely getting your little ones or teenagers ready to hit the books with gusto.
Help your kids transition back to school with ease by starting your school-time routine now.
While you may not think preparing for back-to-school encompasses much more than a quick shopping trip for school supplies, putting in a bit of extra preparation now will make for a much smoother ride … for both you and your child.
Six Back-to-School Tips for All Parents
1. Talk to Your Child About Their Emotions
Some children feel nothing but excitement about going back to school and will look forward to the day with eager anticipation. Many others, however, will face first-day jitters. This is especially true for kindergartners who have never been to school before or any child entering a new school (due to starting high school or moving, etc.).
“The end of summer and the beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for parents and children,” says psychologist Lynn Bufka, PhD in an APA Help Center article. “While trying to manage work and the household, parents can sometimes overlook their children’s feelings of nervousness or anxiety as school begins. Working with your children to build resilience and manage their emotions can be beneficial for the psychological health of the whole family.”
Aside from asking your child about their fears or worries, and letting them know their jitters are normal, remind them that change can also be an exciting, positive experience.
Often, practicing the routine of getting ready for school, and even walking through the school beforehand (finding their classroom and locker, etc.) is also helpful.
2. Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales and Sales-Tax Holidays
Getting ready for school can be expensive, especially on top of many family’s already tight budgets. Fortunately, many states for one week or weekend offer sales tax holidays.
For a limited time period, you can buy certain back-to-school items, including clothing, school supplies, computers, and other items as defined by each state, with no added sales tax.
Please see this 2015 Tax Holiday Schedule from Bankrate.com for a list of sales tax holiday dates and details.
3. Give Your Child Hand Wipes to Help Avoid Germs
Schools are veritable Petri dishes when it comes to germs. Everything from E. coli and salmonella to flu viruses, rhinovirus, and staph are commonly found in schools.
Younger kids like to share everything, including their germs. Tuck a hand wipe into your little one’s backpack, and they’ll be able to quickly remove germs from their hands throughout the day (even if they forget to wash their hands as often as you would have liked or needed)!
Your children come into contact with the germs at school, then transmit them into your home, onto door handles, the kitchen faucet, and even the carton of milk. Of course, when you and the rest of your family touch these items, you’re all at risk of illnesses as well.
The way to solve this problem has two angles. First, give your child an antimicrobial microfiber hand wipe to keep in their pocket or backpack at school. These cloths have patented built-in antimicrobial protection, and are able to pick up contaminants that can’t be seen with the naked eye. Encourage your child to wipe his hands with the cloth frequently throughout the school day (there’s no need for additional water or soap as the microfiber wipes work just as well wet as they do dry!).
Second, use microfiber cloths, mitts and dusters to clean your home to the same microscopic level. Pay special attention to cleaning frequently touched items like door handles, toilet flushers, light switches, and appliance handles.
4. Get Ready to Prepare Healthy Lunches
The foods offered in many school cafeterias are far less than optimal — think French fries, pizza, nachos and cheeseburgers. To give your child better nutrition, get in the mindset now to pack them a healthy lunch each day.
We know it’s easy when you’re crunched for time to just throw together a bag of chips, a lunchmeat sandwich and a couple of cookies, but why not prepare some healthy snacks in advance instead. Keep them in the fridge and — Wallah! — you can pack your child’s lunch with something good for them, and not have to change around your schedule to do it.
Need a few healthy snack ideas? Alive in 5: Raw Gourmet Meals in Five Minutes is the perfect cookbook for anyone who wants to create healthy snacks (and meals) using great-tasting fruits and vegetables — but doesn’t have a lot of time to do it. It’s full of delicious, and fast, recipes, perfect for busy moms and dads with hungry kids. Most of them can be prepared in just five minutes … no kidding!
Some other quick, nutritious ideas to include in your child’s lunch include:
- Apples or celery spread with peanut butter (use the type made from 100 percent peanuts, with no fillers or trans fats) or raw almond butter.
- Carrot sticks, green or red pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, celery, radishes, and other raw veggies, served with hummus.
- A homemade snack mix made from dried cranberries (or cherries, blueberries, etc.), raw almonds (or pistachios), sunflower seeds and shredded coconut.
- A serving of healthy leftovers, such as chicken soup or black bean chili.
- Cheese and crackers, served with some grapes or other fresh fruit.
- A couple of hard-boiled eggs, along with carrot sticks or fresh fruit.
5. Be Prepared to Handle Head Lice
Head lice affect some 6 million to 12 million people in America every year, and though it’s a year-round problem, outbreaks tend to occur at the beginning of the school year (when kids spend more time in close contact with one another).
Beware of reaching for common lice treatments like Nix, RID and Kwell, however, because they contain toxic pesticides and insecticides that are readily absorbed into your child’s body!
Instead be prepared to treat lice with the completely non-toxic solution, Lice B Gone. This is a safe, non-toxic, 100 percent pesticide-free multi-enzyme shampoo made from natural plant sources. Lice B Gone’s extra-strength formula has been clinically proven to effectively remove lice and nits without harmful pesticides or irritating chemicals.
6. Change Your Child’s Sleep Schedule Now
Most kids need to get up much earlier during the school year than they do during the summer. If your little one is used to sleeping in, start adjusting their bed time and wake times gradually so they’ll be used to the routine by their first day of school.
How much sleep should your child get each night? Generally, children aged 6-9 need about 10 hours of sleep a night while preteens need a little over nine hour.