Thursday, August 16, 2012

20 Things to do to Get Your Kids Ready for the New School Year

Our days of getting the kids ready for back to school are long past (thank goodness...these days some schools are requiring an iPad!), however here are some things to consider before the school year begins to get your kids ready to go back to school:

  1. Get their vaccinations updated.
  2. Get them a complete physical check up (including vision check and hearing check).
  3. Sign them up for sports or after school clubs (better to keep the kids busy than allow them to wander around aimlessly after school...I recommend sports because nearly all kids need more exercise in their lives).
  4. Buy enough school supplies for the year while the items are on sale now (shop sales and use coupons if possible to reduce prices on these items even more).
  5. Practice going to and from school with them as safely as possible (this might mean riding a bike and discussing how to ride safely, walking to the school and talking about how to cross the street, etc).
  6. Find out what your child's school emergency plans are (everything from what their active shooter plan is to how parents are informed about school emergencies and school closures).
  7. Discuss all things tech related (what are the rules for cell phones at school, what are your own rules for their social media use, etc).
  8. Put an "emergency pack" in each kid's backpack (this should include a written list of emergency numbers in case their cell phone dies or is inoperable, $20 for use in case of emergency, a granola bar, etc.  Sadly I am quite uninformed when it comes to school "emergency packs" and thus what would go into one...ideally I would include a pocket knife but I believe that schools frown on pocketknives these days).
  9. Practice skills that would come in handy in an emergency (finding another route home, finding cover and concealment, how to call 911 and in what circumstances to do this, what to do about bullying, etc).
  10. Set up a schedule of enrichment activities for the kids (from what I understand, many schools range from meh to appalling when it comes to education these days.  It's a parents responsibility to pick up where their child's education lacks so consider museum programs, library programs, music lessons, teaching your kids about everything from gardening to computer repair, etc).
  11. Put together a Child Safety Kit.  Hopefully you will never need it, but in the unfortunate circumstance that you do, then at least you will have these necessary items.
  12. Go camping or fishing or do some other end-of-summer activity with your kids before school starts.
  13. Make up a new emergency code word with your kids.
  14. Set the ground rules--everything from bed times to homework rules to dating and borrowing-the-car rules.
  15. Encourage leadership and responsibility in your kids (this could range from getting a dog to them joining Boy Scouts or Student Council).
  16. Be active in your child's school and education (this can range from reviewing homework every night to homeschooling them).
  17. Encourage your kids to solve their own problems (helicopter parents create way more problems for their kids than they solve).
  18. Make your kids earn some of their own money for things they want to buy.  This gives them life-long skills for earning money which, sadly, many kids don't have as they have always been given everything they want.
  19. Keep an open line of communication with your kids so you will have some idea of what is going on in their lives (easier said than done...even more difficult between the ages of 12 and 17 if I remember correctly).
  20. Don't be your kids "buddy" be the role model you want them to emulate.

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