Article and audio introduction by Samantha Kennedy, Family and Consumer Sciences
The new school year begins in Wakulla County on August 10, and back to school fever is in full swing. It is an exciting and often anxious time for many students and parents as they readjust to a more rigid schedule. Being properly prepared can help alleviate much of this anxiety.
Getting the child properly registered for school, especially if he or she is starting a new school, is very important in order to avoid any confusion on the first day. Check with the school district to make sure.
Check on any necessary immunizations the child might need to attend school and make appointments to get them. Children in sports will probably need an athletic physical, so be sure to check into that as well.
Having the proper school supplies is very important. Check the school’s website for lists of school supplies needed by grade. Now is a great time to buy any last-minute supplies, since they tend to go on sale right before the school year starts. Take advantage of the annual Back to School Sales Tax Holiday from August 3-5, 2018 where school supplies, clothes, and other select items are tax free. (For more information about what is tax free and what isn’t, click here.)
Set a budget for back to school shopping and stick with it. Only purchase what kids absolutely need to start the new year. Any additional items can be budgeted for throughout the year and purchased when needed.
Arrange any before and after school care kids may need. Investigate any programs offered through the school or enroll the child in appropriate third-party childcare, if preferred.
Maintaining A Good Balance
Print out the school calendar and note any important dates, such as school holidays and any events or functions specific to the child’s school. It is important to know these dates far in advance so preparations can be made for childcare as well as planning for attendance.
To help kids get back in the swing of the school year routine, begin setting schedules for them to follow during the day to help them readjust to the rhythm of school life. This includes set wake-up and bed times as well as establishing homework times and setting limits on screen time before and after school.
Preparing for the next school day the night before can help alleviate stress each morning. Allow the child to choose their outfit for the next day and make sure their backpacks are stocked and ready to go before they go to bed. If they take their lunch to school, packing it the night before will save time the next morning.
Take the time to talk to kids about their school day. This allows the child to share his or her excitement about the things they learned as well as express any concerns or struggles they may be experiencing. Sharing these conversations can help both the child and parent feel like they are team working together for the child’s success.
Keeping an open line of communication with teachers and other school officials is also a great way to pave a smoother path for both parents and students during the school year. Exchanging notes and emails with teachers about a child’s successes or concerns can help the teacher get to know the child better and help the child smoothly navigate through the school year.
Back to school can be a hectic time for families, as everyone needs to readjust to the rigors of the school year. With a little proactive planning and a lot of diligence, much of the stress and anxiety can be alleviated.
For more back-to-school survival tips, please call Samantha Kennedy, Family and Consumer Sciences agent, at the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension office at (850) 926-3931.