5 Teacher-Approved Tips to Make Back-to-School Time Great 👩‍🏫

A new school year can bring both dread and anticipation. Here's how to help your child navigate it.

By Nicole Zawidski, publisher of Macaroni Kid Bethlehem, Pa. July 18, 2023

Back to school time arrives every year, yet its rapid approach in the final stretch of summer often catches us - parents, kids, and teachers - off guard. While some kids may be exited about getting a new teacher and a fresh start, others might feel anxious as the return to school looms around the corner. If that is the case for your child, you'll find this helpful:  Helpful Tools for Coping with Back to School Anxiety.

As the final countdown begins it's time to ensure that we are ready for the upcoming school year. It's time to start preparing to ensure a successful and smooth return to school for our children and ourselves!

Here are five teacher-approved tips for helping your child start the new school year off right:

1. Ease into sleeping routines

  • If your kids are anything like my kids, they love that summer offers them the chance to stay up later and sleep in. Most days the routine includes breakfast, followed by playing the day away in the backyard or at the pool, then catching fireflies into the night. This can be a hard habit to break when it's time to head back to school. 
  • To make it easier, we try setting bedtime a little earlier each night, starting several weeks before school begins. It allows their bodies to adjust to the new schedule without shocking them with a strict early bedtime the night before school.
  • Also, it helps to start waking them up in the mornings, instead of letting them sleep in. A slow adjustment will help make that transition to an alarm clock less painful once school starts.

2. Start a bedtime routine

  • If you don’t already have a bedtime routine, now is a great time to start. Routines help children ease into transitions. 
  • Doing the same things, such as having them brush their teeth, read a bedtime story, and then hop into bed every night helps them adjust better. 
  • The routine offers a structure that makes bedtime easier, especially when you are getting ready for back to school.

3. Shop for back-to-school supplies 

  • Most kids love back-to-school shopping. Let the kids choose their backpack, lunchbox, water bottle, and even the cool pencils they like. 
  • Having them involved in the process and showing enthusiasm for their new school gear will help make the process of going back to school something to anticipate rather than dread.

4. Plan a get-together

  • A late summer get-together with friends gives them all a chance to catch up and talk about the upcoming year - the teachers they might have, the clubs they want to join, and the classes they're excited about. 

5. Attend any school events: Registration / Student Orientation 

  • Sometimes schools offer new student orientations that might include a chance to walk around or tour the school campus / classrooms before school begins. Take your child to help them get acquainted with the school and faculty if offered. Visiting the campus might spark something! 
  • Try not to miss any parent events, if you can: those events help prepare you for what to expect during the school year. Your kids will notice your support and interest. 
  • Some schools even offer a welcome coffee for parents the first day or week of school, it can be a great chance to meet other parents.
  • Keep your eye out for parent organization meetings like the PTA / PFA.
  • Be sure to save the date for fall back to school night where parents typically have a chance to visit classrooms and meet teachers.

Good luck in the new school year and this new chapter in your child's life! Stay positive and get ready for another fun year of learning and growth for your child.

Nicole Zawidski is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Bethlehem, Pa. She is also an award-winning educator and a mom of two.

Updated and edited by Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas