Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Back to School: Eight tips to transition back to school

Posted August 5, 2013
Updated August 6, 2013

I popped over to Project Enlightenment the other day with my kids, who wanted to work on some craft projects there (which primarily involved them picking out shapes and letters from the resource center's many die cuts).

As I've written before Project Enlightenment is Wake County's early childhood education center and intervention program. It offers lots of great workshops for parents, along with a resource center full of books for kids and parents and a production area with resources to make educational activities or a fun project. Click here to read more about what they have and its hours of operation this month. (And, may I recommend the center's great routine chart for getting out the door on time with kindergartners and young kids).

When I was there, I chatted a bit with Deborah Connell, who works with the center's school readiness program. She offered some helpful tips as many of us prepare for the start of the school year.

With so many unknowns, especially for parents sending their oldest child off to kindergarten, Connell say the key for parents is to think about what they can control. 

Because, she said, "here's a lot that's out of your control."

As a parent of a rising third grader, I completely agree.

Here are some tips from Connell and Project Enlightenment: 

  • Visit the school. Connell says it's especially helpful to even just play on the playground for a bit before school starts. If your child is nervous about school, at least she'll have some fun memories of time on the playground with family and friends when she heads out for recess, she said.
  • Adjust your child's sleep schedule several weeks before school begins - remember that a child needs at least 10 hours of sleep each night.
  • Help your child choose a school bag and label it with his or her name. Also, choose a place in your home to put things each night to take to school each day.
  • Add a family photo to your child's book bag.
  • Be positive - your child takes cues from you.
  • Practice "cafeteria style" eating at a local restaurant and practice opening food packages. Also, allow your child to serve himself from bowls at home.
  • For parents, think through and plan for food, transportation and schedule changes. Know when school begins and ends, where the bus stop is and how much school lunch costs. Have your kids practice opening containers that you'll pack in their lunch. (A key skill, may I add, after witnessing how many kids can't do this when I have volunteered in my older daughter's classes).
  • Once school starts, limit after school activities for a few weeks. Your kids, most likely, will be absolutely exhausted.

For more school tips, check Project Enlightenment's website. I'll have more back-to-school tips in the coming weeks.



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  • shall6 Aug 6, 2013

    That's a great idea @mghuf!


  • mghuf Aug 6, 2013

    I put a picture of my child's favorite stuffed animal in her backpack so that it was with her at school and learning too!