10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for a Great School Year

The new school year will be here before we know it! While we all want to soak up the last days of sun and fun, there are some things you can do during the summer to make your child’s transition to the new school year as smooth as possible. Just a little bit of planning can make those first few weeks of school easier on your student and your family.
1. Get Oriented
•    Many schools let new students, especially in the younger grades, come to school for an orientation session before school begins. At Mason Prep, we have an orientation day for new students where they, along with their mentor student buddies, come tour the school and learn about all things Mason Prep. We are also happy to have new families come say hello, meet the people in the front office, see the library and a classroom or two, and check out the playground. The more your child sees of the school, the more comfortable she’ll feel on the first day.
•    If your child was at the same school last year, you only need to talk about any differences this year. “Now that you’re in first grade, you get to play on the big kids’ playground and eat in the lunchroom.” “Now that you’ll be in third grade, you’ll have homework every day.”
•    Once you find out your child’s classroom assignment, begin talking about her teacher in fond and familiar terms. If you can find a photo of the teacher, put it up on your refrigerator. “When you’re in Ms. Williams class, I bet she’ll be impressed with what a great cleaner-upper you are.” “I’m pretty sure that Ms. Williams reads stories to the kids; she might read your favorite book if we bring it to school.”

2. Connect with Friends
•    Seeing familiar faces on that first day of school will help your child feel more at ease, so try and set up some play dates as school approaches. Many schools will introduce new families to each other, and some may provide mentor families for those who are new to the school. If you are new to town and attending school in your neighborhood, take lots of walks so you can meet nearby families. 
•    Even if you are not new to your school, make a point of rekindling classmate friendships ahead of the first day of school. With family vacations and summer camps, sometimes friends don’t see each other much over the summer, so it’s helpful plan fun activities so they can reconnect.
•    Find out about after-school activities and sports. Getting your child involved in a few activities will help him feel included and widen his circle of friends.

3. Go School Shopping
•    One of the easiest things you can do to get your child excited about school is taking him back-to-school shopping. Shopping for school supplies and clothes is exciting for children, and they will be more eager to use their supplies if they have a hand in selecting them. Allow your child to pick out supplies and clothes he likes, and then let him pack up his backpack and get it ready for the first day.
•    Your child can also help with choosing and packing school lunches and snacks. Ask your child what he would like to bring for snacks and lunches. You could go online together and look for new recipes and ideas, shop for the ingredients, and engage him in the making and packing of the food.

4. Set the Stage
Establish a clean, well-lit place, free of distractions, where your child can do homework. Clean out drawers and make sure to get rid of any clutter. Add some cheery school supplies and organizers that will help her stay on task. Before school starts, talk with your child and develop a homework routine. Letting your child have a say in when and where she does her homework will help her stick to the routine.

5. Get Back on Schedule
If your child has been staying up later and sleeping in during the summer, take a couple of weeks to get him back on a school schedule. Moving bedtime a bit earlier each night and waking up earlier each day will make the transition easier and will make it more likely that your child will get a good night’s sleep before the first day of school. 

The start of school is just around the corner! If you are looking for the right fit for your child, we would love to tell you more about Mason Prep. Download your Parent Info Packet to learn more.

6. Work it Out
If your child has summer work to complete, aim to have that done at least a week before school starts. Nothing adds to the anxiety of starting school like doing a last-minute project or book report! Hopefully, your child has been reading all summer, but, if not, encourage her to read for an hour or so each day to get back into the swing of learning. Show her the importance of reading by making it a family activity – have everyone read each day, either individually or together aloud.

7. Practice Your Routine 
•    Getting up, ready, and out the door each morning takes practice. Help your child master the things she needs to do in the morning by practicing getting dressed, making breakfast, and brushing teeth. 
•    Practice getting everything ready for school the night before. Gather up books, homework, and pack a lunch to lessen the amount of rushing around in the morning, which always leads to forgotten items!
•    For some children, the biggest challenge will be saying goodbye to you. You can help your child by practicing saying goodbye. Orchestrate small separations to show her that time apart is OK and that you will be back together soon. You can even develop a parting routine, such as a hug, a special handshake, or something you say to each other every morning.

8. Talk it Through
•    Talk with your child about what the school day will be like – what time it starts, what your child’s daily schedule is, and what time he gets picked up. Be sure to point out all the fun things that will happen at school – making new friends, seeing the teacher, going to the library, playing on the playground, etc. 
•    If your child is nervous, let him know that many kids are nervous about the first day of school. Reassure him that his classmates will be looking for a friend too, so it will be easy to make new buddies. 
•    Read books about starting school such as “First Day Jitters,” “First Grade Stinks,” and “The Kissing Hand.”

9. Model Positivity
Set a good example for your child by being enthusiastic about the new school year – a positive attitude is often contagious! Let your child know that you are confident in her ability to do well this school year and that you are there to support her.

10. Remember to Celebrate
After you’re done preparing for a new school year, try to enjoy the moment! Plan a celebratory dinner and talk about what each person in your family is looking forward to this school year. 

If you'd like to start the enrollment process at Mason Prep, we'd love to see you on the first day of school. Please download our Parent Info Packet or email us to start the conversation!
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Mason Preparatory School is committed to the education of the whole child in preparation for secondary education through the cultivation of respect, integrity, and personal responsibility within a nurturing environment that results in a productive citizen of a global community.