You may think you’re ready for your kids to head back to school, but are they really ready? The school year has a way of sneaking up on us—particularly when you live in the Poconos where there is so much to do in the summer. One struggle a lot of families tend to have is that there is so much to do in such a little amount of time. One way to get around that is to do a bit of planning ahead so that you don’t have to do everything at the same time. Here are 13 tips to preparing for the school year in the Poconos.
Get to Know Your Local School. It’s really helpful if you’re familiar with the school(s) in your area. That’s particularly true if you’re new to the area—or if you have kids who will be attending a different school this year than they did last year. If you’re more confident and comfortable about where your son or daughter will be attending, he or she will be more confident and comfortable as well. Here’s a Guide to Poconos schools that can help with that.
3 Weeks Before the Start of School
- Review your school’s Web site. Even if you’re already familiar with the school, you may find some changes in procedures or schedules, or rules. On top of that, teachers often post a list of required supplies—and sometimes even suggest the best place to find these things.
- Make a list (and check it twice). Use the list your school supplies or make your own and start planning your supply-shopping trip. Get your kids involved. Add a few surprises to your list to make things more fun.
- Go clothes shopping. Make a list first so that you’re not overwhelmed. As with school supplies, throw in some fun stuff in the middle. Get them one item of clothing that may not be your choice but that will make them feel good about going back to school.
- Create (or update) a family emergency plan. Your school probably has a plan for the school, but you’ll want to have a plan for what happens after your kids get home. Share your plan (or review it) with your children. Make sure your emergency contact information is up to date.
2 Weeks Before the Start of School
- Anticipate new activities. If you have a child moving from elementary to middle school, you may want to have him or her practice using a combination lock. As soon as you get the combination, take your child to school and let him or her practice when there’s no time pressure or distraction from other students.
- Make sure you have locker combinations, class schedules, room numbers and teachers’ names in a planner or agenda. Having it on your phone may be the best solution. But make sure your child has it stored somewhere safe as well.
- Firm up all after-school child-care arrangements ahead of time.
- Start waking your children up at the time they’ll need to get up on school days. Don’t wait until the first day of school to spring a new schedule on them.
1 Week before the Start of School
- Plan lunches (if you plan to make them) and go grocery shopping. Again, put in some fun surprises. Little things can make a big impact. Add some healthy after-school snacks to your list.
- Try all new clothes on one more time and make sure everything has been washed and is ready to go.
- Take another trip to the school with your child and do a casual walk-through (especially if this is a new school for your kids).
- If your child is riding the bus for the first time (or if he or she is getting picked up at a different stop) show your child the bus stop. If it's a new spot, walk it together and time your walk so you know how much time to allow. For younger children, in particular, make sure you both know that route to and from the bus stop.
- Ask your child what he or she is most looking forward to. You may not get an earth-shattering answer, but some kids want to be asked. It also gives them a chance to tell you if they are concerned about anything.
This isn’t a comprehensive list and there’s nothing written in stone that says you have to do things in this order. Still, it’s easier to adapt a plan than to come up with one on the spur of the moment.