It’s that time of year again – time to get the kids ready for school. Maybe you just PCS’d or you’ve been living at your duty station a while, but kids always start the year with new teachers and a new routine. Here are a few tips to help them in their transition process.

Visit the school. Show the kids where they’ll be going to school and visit a few times so they become familiar with it. Play on the playgrounds and walk the school grounds. If you are unable to meet your child’s new teacher, look to see if they have a profile on the school’s website and talk about them to your child.  

Research school requirements. Make sure you find out if your school has any requirements or restrictions for food or clothing. The last thing you’d want to do is send your child to school with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a peanut free school, or have them sent to the office for non-approved clothing.

Get the kids on schedule. Don’t wait until the night before to get the kids on their proper sleep schedules. Start at least a week out with any nightly routine and bedtime routines they should expect when school starts, that way the only change they have to deal with is school itself.

Get them excited. Offer encouraging words and point out the positives of activities that your child may encounter in the classroom. Find a good time to sit down and ask your children if they have questions or want to discuss how they are feeling for some one-on-one time.

Practice the day. Give the first day of school a test run if your child seems especially nervous. Have them get up, get dressed, eat, gather their school supplies and head out the door and walk to school or their bus stop. It will give you an idea of how much time you need to adjust on the first day and your child a day to get the new routine down.

Prep their supplies. Most schools have a required school list, but some have suggested supplies to donate. No matter what the case is for your child, take your child out and ask if they’d like to have a special item or supply with them in the classroom. If money is tight, a few dollars can go a long way at thrift stores or the dollar stores.

Connect with other parents. Sometimes our children may not tell us what is going on in the classroom. Other kids may be better about discussing what went on during the day with their parents who in turn can give you the scoop. Not only does this provide some good perspective, but it’s also a great way to form relationships with other adults who have kids in the classroom.

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