Readying your kids for a new school year

As summer comes to a close, many kids dread returning to school. They may be nervous about new classes, unfamiliar teachers and even navigating different buildings than last year. Parents can ease these fears by helping their kids prepare. Here are a few tips to get your kids ready for the new school year:

Take a tour
One of the scariest parts of going back to school for many kids is finding their way around. This is especially true for children who are moving from elementary school to middle school, or who are starting their first days in high school. Since these transitions often mean going to new campuses, it's no wonder students get nervous! Help your kids de-stress by taking them on a tour of their new school before classes start. Most schools offer open house nights a week or two ahead of time when students can get their schedules and stroll through their new digs. Be sure to attend and run through your kids' schedules to help them remember. Also, make sure they bring a map to class the first week. It can be less intimidating to gaze at a map than to ask another student for directions.

Get supplies
Many kids get excited about school when they gather their new supplies. There's something special about sharpening pencils and stashing markers and pens in a new backpack. Print out the supply list provided by your kids' teachers and head to the store. Also, take into account any school items that you still have left over from previous years, like notebooks and drawing utensils. There's not always a need to buy more of everything, plus you can save some money and time by taking a quick inventory before going out to purchase new items.

Take your kids to the doctor
Students are expected to show proof of immunizations before entering a new grade. From measles, mumps and rubella to the often-optional flu vaccination, these shots are necessary before the school year begins. Schedule your kids for physicals a few weeks before the new year starts. If they plan to partake in sports, get the necessary sports physical paperwork from the school so they can prove they're fit to be involved in athletic activities. You'll feel good because you know your kids are in good health and fully prepared to start the year.

Talk expectations
People find it helpful to know what to expect when they are beginning new things. Kids, for example, may feel more confident going into their classrooms when they have an idea of what their classes will be, what standardized tests to expect throughout the year and their parents' expectations for their grades and behavior. Talk with them about their nerves and see how you can offer helpful advice. Mention that studying far in advance for big tests, like the Common Core State Standards, can help them not be anxious on the test day and earn a higher score. Knowing these tips may promote a happy, healthy school year.

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