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Feature Article


Making back to school COOL!

Angie Fletcher, Human Development Specialist, Douglas County, University of Missouri Extension


Mom getting young son ready for schoolThe short summer months are winding down and the new school year is fast approaching. The return to school is often a time of adjustment for many families. New teacher, new classroom, new classmates, maybe even a new school — these are only a few of the many changes children and families encounter at the beginning of a new school year.


Making a smooth transition between the summer break and the beginning of school can help children feel good about all of the changes, and it will help foster a positive outlook about the coming school year.


Parents play an important role in helping the family adjust to the new routine. Here are some tips to help make this transition more relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.


Establish a routine

Bed times, wake-up times, places for backpacks and important notes, setting a homework schedule — whatever the routine and schedule will be, begin following it at least a week or so before school actually begins. This will help you and your child adjust and make any necessary changes.


Take a school tour

This is especially important if your child is new to the school system or building. Knowing where to go on the first day can relieve a lot of stress.


Meet with your child’s teacher(s)

Introduce yourselves. Discuss what will be happening in the classroom, as well as any special needs or situations your child may have. Find out if there are ways you can help out in the classroom.


Update the school records

Make sure the school has any new phone numbers, changes of address, immunization updates, etc. Having these in an emergency can save precious minutes. If you moved recently, be sure your child knows the new address and phone number as well.


Get all required examinations

Try to schedule appointments for sports physicals, immunizations, dental exams, etc. before school starts. This will help avoid absences from school.


Arrange after-school care

Make necessary arrangements ahead of time and be sure your child knows where he/she will be going and what he/she will be doing after school. It is also a good idea, epecially for elementary school students, to inform the teacher of these plans.


Purchase school supplies

Check with your child’s teacher or school for a list of needed supplies and have those ready for the first day so that your child feels prepared.


Create a homework center

Choose a quiet area away from the television or other distractions. Stock it with the supplies needed to complete homework.


Stress the importance of good nutrition

Healthy, well-balanced breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners can unleash the brainiac in your child! Studies have shown that good nutrition helps children maintain focus and energy and keeps their moods balanced, all of which are necessary for proper learning.


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Last Updated 08/11/2016