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How to Start The School Year Off Right (Plus Back to School Checklist!)


With the new school year just around the corner, it’s time to start back-to-school prep.

Shopping for new school supplies and clothes helps kids start thinking about the return to the classroom, but that’s just the start. There are many more ways to prep kids for school year success so they can start the new school year with a fresh and ready mind.

The habits and routines that are implemented at home right now go a long way to helping students prepare not only for back to school success, but for success that lasts the whole school year—much longer than new pencils or running shoes will!

Wondering how to help your child get a jump start on a great school year? Our Back to School Checklist is a handy guide to some ideas to prep the entire household for school year success.

How To Start The School Year Off Right

  1. Reintroduce bedtimes and wake-up times
  2. Poor sleeping habits can have an impact on student performance, so the sooner you get your child on a regular sleep schedule, the better. Starting the school year will be easier for you and your child, and will help avoid morning—and evening—rushes.

  3. Make sure children are reading and writing a little every day
  4. Reading and writing helps get children’s minds working and helps keep their brains sharp. Getting back into the habit of reading and writing a bit each day will help maintain school skills like penmanship and vocabulary so your child can start the school year strong.

  5. Limit screen time during after-school hours
  6. During the school year, after-school hours should be reserved for homework and extra-curricular activities. Start getting into this routine in the weeks leading up to school. The sooner kids turn off the TV and turn on their minds during this timeframe, the less of a hassle homework will be during the school year.

  7. Play board games to challenge the mind
  8. Use TV-free time to play board games with kids during what will become the homework hour. This will help kids get into the habit of doing engaging their mind during this time, so when homework starts coming home again, they already have a routine in place.

  9. Get an alarm clock
  10. For children who can tell time, an alarm clock can help them develop time management and organization skills they’ll need during the school year. This will help kids take ownership of their activities and help avoid rushed mornings.

  11. Buy a family wall calendar to hang in a visible location
  12. A wall calendar makes a great organization tool. Have kids write down their commitments like soccer, dance class, birthday parties, etc. When school starts, use the calendar to note the due dates of big projects, standardized testing dates, and vacation days.

  13. Start having kids select their clothes the night before
  14. Picking out clothes is a great way for children to develop organizational habits. Having everything picked out and ready the day before also helps cut down on school-day morning rushes and last-minute scrambles.

  15. Begin talking about returning to school
  16. Start counting down the days together. Preparation can help make the transition back to class much less stressful and difficult for students. Talking about the upcoming school year can help kids manage expectations, set goals, and prepare.

  17. Take a tour of your child’s new school
  18. If your child is starting at a new school, it can be intimidating. Getting to know the way around helps lessen school-related anxiety and boost confidence. Take a tour of the new school, find out teachers’ names, the location of classrooms, and where the bathrooms are located.

  19. Review last year’s report card(s)
  20. Unless problems were addressed over the summer, it’s likely they may return again this year. Remind yourself of weak areas so you can make a plan to address problem areas early on.

  21. Buy new school supplies
  22. Being prepared with the right supplies is an important part of performing well in school. New supplies also hold a certain magic for getting kids excited about hearing the school bell ring again.

Need some help getting started? Check out our back to school supplies lists for high school, middle school, and elementary school to make shopping a breeze this year.

A Better School Year Begins Right Now!

Learning how to have a successful school year starts with the right preparation and a positive attitude. It’s never too early to start thinking about getting back into the school-year routine—getting started now will help make the back to school transition easier on both you and your child.

Download the Back to School Checklist

Click on the image to download your free copy of our Back to School Checklist. Hang it on your fridge so you and your child can easily keep track of your activities in the weeks leading up to school.

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