The dog days of summer are here and Back-to-School is just around the corner. Depending on the school district to which you belong, Long Island school aged children will be returning to school on either September 1st, 2nd or 8th. If you haven’t already begun getting the kids and yourself ready, here are some great tips on getting and staying organized and well-prepared for a no-hassle school year. If you really want to make sure you are ahead of the game, print this article and check off each item as it is accomplished, and make sure each item has been checked before day one!
Although it’s difficult to predict what different teachers will require, especially if a list wasn’t sent to you beforehand, you can be sure that your kids will need most of the staples (pardon the pun!). Peruse the following list for a general idea of items that most kids will need, and keep the extras on hand at home for those last minute school projects.
- Ballpoint Pens
- Combination Locks
- Drawing Paper
- Glue Sticks
- Loose-Leaf Notebook Paper
- Lunch Box/Bags
- Pencils (No. 2)/Erasers
- Pencil Sharpener
- Pocket Folders
- Printer Paper
- School Box (Supplies)
- Scotch Tape
- Spiral Notebooks
It’s always a great idea to buy what you know you’ll need early, but it’s certainly not too late to get started now. First, go through your child’s closet and weed out everything they’ve outgrown. This will help keep your child organized and you sane. Get the newspaper or search online for back-to-school sales in your neighborhood or check out the outlet stores at Tanger.
Before hitting the stores, you may want to check with the school to see if there are any new dress codes for the upcoming year. Your child may love printed T shirts but his or her school may have recently added them to the restricted list.
School entry may require you to submit a birth certificate or immunization records on or before the first day, especially if your child is moving up to middle or high school or if you are new to the school district all together. In order to join an athletics team or activity, find out if you your child needs to get a physical exam or provide proof of health from their last exam.
Many schools send out school information and a packet of forms to be filled out before school starts. Don’t wait until the night before to fill them out just in case there is some mandatory information that you just don’t have available right there and then. Give yourself at least 2 business days advance so that you are not caught unprepared.
Remember to update school emergency contact and health information for the coming year, especially if your routine or job has changed since last year (or if you simply have a new cell or work number).
You may be thinking that the kid’s schedule will fall into place once school starts, especially if your schedule hasn’t changed much over the summer, but kids seem to forget what and how they did things last year on or about the first day of summer vacation. Now is the time to start getting them back into the swing of things (I know it’s easier said than done). Make sure you have a plan for the following, and try to get the routine started at least a week before the first day of school.
- Bedtime – Since your kid’s wont be able to sleep as late as they did during the summer, and earlier bedtime may be in order.
- Morning Bathroom Time – With everyone trying to get ready and out of the house at the same time, try make a schedule for morning bathroom time, especially if you have more a lot more users than bathrooms.
- Breakfast – Will your child be eating breakfast before they leave for school? If so, agree upon some easy morning meals like cereal or fruit smoothies and decide who will prepare them. If your child will be eating once they get to school, make sure they have what they will need in order to receive their school breakfast.
- Lunch – School lunch or packed lunch? And who will be in charge of shopping for lunch items and who will be the “chef”? Will lunches be prepared the night before or in the morning? And don’t forget…Paper, plastic, or lunch box?
- Getting to School – How will your child get to school? Does their school provide bus transportation or will your child be walking, biking, or car-pooling to school. If your child will be taking the bus, make sure you know where the bus stop is and if the kids need chaperoning until the bus arrives or not. If you will be taking part in a car-pooling group, make sure you speak with the other parents to arrange a schedule that works for all of you. Inevitable, something will go wrong at some time throughout the year so make sure you have a backup plan.
- Sports & Activities – Will your child be joining an athletic team or other after-school activity this year? Besides the necessary paperwork and registration, make sure that your child has the proper transportation home.
- Prepare for the Unexpected – Once you have children, you learn pretty quickly that you can plan all you want but things don’t always go as planned. Make sure that you have back-up plans for the unexpected such as child care for sick-days and who will attend forgotten parent-teacher meetings.
The best advice is to make sure you have a large calendar on the kitchen refrigerator for all to see. Make sure you take a look at it on a daily basis and take note of any new entries. Mark personal and family activities on the same calendar as school activities so you don’t wind up with too many conflicting activities. Start a folder for school newsletters and other papers so that you can easily find them if and when needed…And if you can spare the time, make sure to do a practice run!
For more information about LI events and activities for the whole family, check out our Events Calendar.