In addition to haircuts and buying school supplies, educators say parents should also be preparing their children for school with routine bed times and nutritious meals and snacks.
Practicing academic lessons, such as reading and writing, also is important.
Clark-Pleasant and Greenwood students head back to school this week, with the other local school districts going back in the next two weeks. Preparing for the start of school typically means buying paper, pencils and folders, but parents also should spend time preparing their child academically and mentally for school, educators said.
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Bethany Crisp has been working with her daughter, Tinley, to do refresher lessons on letters and numbers. They are also working on reading, and Tinley is reviewing how to write her name and making sure she knows her address.
Those were all important tasks for the Bargersville family before Tinley starts kindergarten at Union Elementary School this year, her mother said.
“It’s every day, going over what she knows,” Crisp said.
One of the main steps parents can take is talk to their kids and show them they are prepared for school to start, said Stephanie Dunn, kindergarten teacher at Creekside Elementary School.
That includes making sure that students get in the same sleep pattern they will be in once school starts, Dunn said.
“Kids want a routine, they want to know what is coming,” said Chloe Limbach, kindergarten teacher at Northwood Elementary School. “They want to know what they are going to do.”
Students, especially younger children, who try and start school using their summer sleep patterns go to school cranky and sometimes unable to communicate on why, Dunn said. They are also more likely to fall asleep at school, Dunn said.
“They are more prone to being emotional when they are tired,” she said.
Parents should also take advantage of back to school nights to let their student see their classroom and meet their teacher to help ease them back into a school routine, Dunn said.
“In kindergarten especially, we have several nervous kiddos those first few days,” she said.
Parents also should get their children into the habit of eating breakfast, and preparing for the type of food that will be offered at school, educators said.
“If they are hungry when they come in, it sets their whole day on the wrong foot,” Dunn said.
And what they eat matters too, said Greg Moore, owner of Sylvan Learning Center in Franklin.
Parents should align their children’s meals to what they might experience at school, he said.
“They need a routine not only for sleep, but also for meals,” Moore said.
The final few weeks before school starts should also be used to get kids prepared academically, and having students read is the first step, educators said.
Reading and writing drives everything, and they are the ideal places to start when asking students to think about academics again, Limbach said.
“You have to be able to read to do anything,” she said.
Having students who are ready to start school helps teachers and schools, Limbach said.
“The first three, four or five weeks of school is a huge transition,” she said.