6 ways to get kids ready for a new school year

Making sure that children are properly geared up to conquer the school year begins at home.

School supplies on construction paper

Parents can be proactive by taking useful steps in helping children begin the school year with a positive attitude and the tools for success.

Read with your kids
Reading aloud with children throughout the summer can have a significant impact on their overall success throughout the school year. Each year, many children fall into the “summer slide,” a time when students tend to fall behind in academic progress over the summer months.

Reading aloud with children each day will not only help to build their literacy skills, but will also help improve cognitive function to ensure better chances of success in school. Don’t forget to make the most of your time spent reading together by engaging in character voices, plot conversations and more.

Talk about your child’s school schedule
When children know what to expect, they are better equipped to handle change. Talk to your children about upcoming changes and describe the day-to-day of what your child should expect for the new school year.

Explain new daily routines like morning wake-up calls, lunchtime, homework sessions and other activities that may be a change of pace from the summer months. Talk about what time they will wake up, if they will dress themselves and how school will be different than home. Ask your child if they have any questions or if they are worried about any of the upcoming changes.

Teach your child how to get ready for the day
A well-planned morning routine can make a significant difference in parents’ and children’s ability to be out the door in a timely fashion. Teaching your child how to get ready for the day themselves will give your child a sense of independence and boost their confidence in themselves.

Educate your child on important hygiene skills like how to properly brush their teeth, comb their hair and dress themselves. Enable your child to take charge by choosing their outfit the night before and packing their backpack to make the morning smoother. Parents can also utilize morning routines as an opportunity to teach time management skills that can be used later in school.

Learn to pack lunches for your child
Healthy, hearty school lunches help children power through the day and do their very best. Nutrition plays an important role in cognitive function, energy levels and so much more.

Learning to create a well-balanced school lunch during the slower paced summer months can help parents be a savvy lunch-packer by the first day of school. Use time during the summer to test out which fruits and vegetables your child likes and discover their flexibility in trying new things.

Break bad habits before the school year
Summer is a window of opportunity for children’s desires to run amok. It’s all too easy for parents to succumb to sugar before dinner and late-night bed times when school isn’t lurking around the corner of the next day.

The month before school starts is a great time to break children’s bad habits before the start of the school year. Before school begins, remind children to use manners, cut back on electronics, go to sleep earlier and reintroduce any other positive forms of structure that may have been lost.

Pack school supplies needed for success
When children are prepared with the supplies they need to thrive in school, they have the best chance at a successful school year. Communicate with your child’s teacher to find out which specific supplies will be needed for class. Allowing children to pick out their own backpack and supplies will instill a sense of ownership, and help them get excited for school.

Donate new school supplies online to help other students start the school year ready for success!


All content in this article, including any advice or commentary from Southwest Human Development staff and/or others, should be considered an opinion and is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for medical or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the direct advice of your own trusted professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the child/ren in your care. Southwest Human Development does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, products, procedures or other information that may be mentioned in this article. You may contact Southwest Human Development’s Birth to Five Helpline at 1-877-705-KIDS (5437) to speak with one of our early childhood professionals for personalized assistance. Birth to Five Helpline specialists are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.