9 tips to eliminate back to school stress

#MNPSDay1 Header by Kimber Halliburton, Lead Principal and Elementary School Principal

It’s that time of year again! Time to return to school! Is your child/family prepared for the transition and the busier schedule that comes with a new school year? Hopefully, you will find some of the following tips helpful.

For students of all ages:

  • Start re-establishing the bedtime and/or curfew schedules and expectations held the previous year. Most students need 8 to 10 hours of sleep per night to perform their best in school. Collect all hand held gaming devices and cell phones to charge overnight in your bedroom.  This eliminates temptation and distractions allowing your student to attend to the task of sleeping.
  • Share your expectations with your child! Many parents take advantage of the beginning of school to discuss their expectations for effort, academic performance, following school rules, listening to the teacher, bus behavior, and other topics valued by the family.
  • Establish a habit of checking your child’s grades in Gradespeed (Metro's web-based electronic gradebook). Some parents find it helpful to designate the same day each week (ex: every Friday) to review their child’s grades.
  • Create a family calendar with school class schedules, assignments/projects due dates, sports, and other extra-curricular activities. Post the calendar in a prominent place in your home.
  • To better protect your finances, consider buying consumable items in bulk during the “Back to School” sales. Ex: Students can quickly deplete items such as crayons, notebook paper, pencils, etc. These items are often 50% to 80% off during the first few weeks of school. Store the extra items in a closet to offer to your child when needed.
  • Establish a homework schedule, and designated work area for your child. Keep standard school supplies stocked in the designated homework area. Once homework, projects, etc. are complete make it a house rule for all completed items to go directly into your child’s backpack. Never leave the business of packing homework for the busy morning time.
  • Be sure your child knows how he/she will be getting home each day (bus number, carpool, walking, after-care van, school-site aftercare, etc.). It is critical for children of every age to know their mode of afternoon transportation every single day of the school year. For younger students make it a practice for them to repeat how they are getting home each morning. This is also a good practice for teens who might forget in the course of the busy school day. To find your bus stop, use our Bus Stop Finder.
  • Pack all necessary items for school the night before. Set out clothes (and prescription glasses, if applicable) your student will be wearing the night before. If you or your child packs his/her lunch, do so the night before. Some families find it helpful to place carrots, grapes, and other healthy snacks for the week in a number of baggies every Sunday night to make the daily packing easier. Parents can then grab a pre-packed baggy to place in the lunch bag during a busy weeknight.
  • As the year progresses, continue to communicate with your child’s teacher(s) and administrator(s). If you feel your child is not transitioning well, contact the school’s guidance counselor for additional support.

TOMORROW: Don't cry. The first day of kindergarten won't be as bad as you think, especially if you follow our tips.