Get Your Children Ready For School: A Little Advance Planning Goes A Long Way!

School is a short time away, depending on your state and district. But a little advance planning to help your child get ready, organized and all set for the fall semester makes life easier for everyone, come September. And if you live in a state where the children head back at the end of August, this list is for you right now!

We’ve got some tips for parents (and nannies!) so that come the end of August, you aren’t scrambling trying to do everything from buying new school uniforms to purchasing a new easel for art class. With our easy to check list, you’ll have it all well in hand come September 1st.

1. If they do need uniforms, order them early.

Not at the last moment, when suppliers are swamped. But not too early, either, as boys and girls can grow a lot in one summer! We suggest taking them in around the first week of August, particularly if this is their first year wearing one. Buy it half a size big if you’re worried that they’re going to grow out of it in two or three months! If they don’t need uniforms, take them shopping for school clothes and supplies after a thorough cleaning of their closet and drawers, to decide what’s worth keeping and what needs to be tossed out.

2. Devise a family calendar.

This is particularly important if you’re trying to keep track of more than one child’s whereabouts every day. If one is at piano lessons after school while another is at football practice, a family calendar makes it easy to locate them with one glance. And don’t forget to write down (or put in your phone) all updated school contacts for the new year, including teachers, counselors and coaches.

3. Set up a place for school work and studying.

Plenty of teens think they can study with music playing or the television on, but in fact, that’s not ideal. Get them a desk, a bookcase and good lighting so they can read in solitude and concentrate. Using their phones for research for a paper is fine, but they can get easily distracted by texts and calls from friends. Try to limit that kind of interference by suggesting set study hours, from after dinner, for example, to 8:00 p.m.

4. Keep an ongoing to-do list that everyone can add to.

For example, if your Elite Nanny is responsible for keeping up to date on what the children need, each child can add to that list and accompany your nanny to get those supplies.

And if parents make note of what night they will be at the office late, the children know where to reach them if something important arises. Also use this list for things like “we need eggs,” etc., so one of the children, or your nanny, knows to pick the item up next time they go out. In busy families, it’s vital everyone knows staying organized is a team effort.

5. Check COVID-19 guidelines in your district.

Many schools across America are fully open and unrestricted, but, according to the Center For Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, the country is still dealing with outbreaks and “hot spots,” particularly because of the new, alarming Delta variant that has officials so concerned. To find out what, if any, public health restrictions are in place in your child’s school district, call or go online to your local municipality’s website. That will have the most reliable and up-to-date information for parents.

6. Help your children do weekly clean-outs and book bag organization.

Instead of letting papers and assignments build up and create confusion, encourage your children to empty their book bags and backpacks each week. Having them file or recycle papers they don’t need, and tidying up the ones they do, helps them focus on the homework at hand and gets rid of things they no longer need. Encourage them to do a monthly calendar on their phone, if they’re teenagers, with a schedule of upcoming tests and assignment due dates. This helps avoid nasty surprises later, when a child might ask for help for a history paper due the next morning they forgot about all week.

7. Are they scheduling too much?

Put it all on the calendar! This is another terrific use of the family calendar – you can keep track of everything your child is signing up for. Some children, because they are enthusiastic and anxious to do well at school, get in over their heads, with three or four extracurricular clubs on top of rigorous academic work. Keep an eye on this, and if it seems to be too much or your child is falling behind a little at school, talk it over with them. Ask whether one or two commitments should be dropped for the next semester, or if there is some way they can employ better time management skills. A busy student is not always a happy one, so it’s vital you monitor their activities.

Getting and keeping the family organized before school starts is a challenge, especially when there is more than one child, and very different drop off and pickup times occurring simultaneously. And when you factor in one or both parents with busy careers, keeping the chaos to a minimum can seem impossible.

But it’s not. It takes planning and forethought, but organizing the children – and you – is the wisest strategy for ensuring things run smoothly this fall, for them and for you, too.