How parents can be prepared for the school year 

Rebecca Stanisic

It’s that time of year again when parents (and kids) are either counting down the days until school begins, or feeling a sense of overwhelming worry that the summer hasn’t lasted long enough. Admittedly, I’m in the latter category. However, our family has begun to prepare for the new school year.  

While many of our kids are picking out first-day outfits, packing up pencil cases and filling binders with lined paper, parents are preparing for their own routines to change. Whether it’s getting ready for the morning drop-off sprint, after school care plans or the beginning of extracurricular activities, the family calendar will suddenly look a lot busier.  

It’s also an opportunity to take a look at how your family engages with media and tech, and there are a few things that parents can do to help prepare for the new school year.  

If your kids are old enough to have a smart phone, it’s a good time to have a refresher chat about social media and tech use. Not only will the school have their own rules (and from what I’ve been told, high school rules are different than elementary), but your kids’ overall media literacy is important – pick a media issue or a digital issue to explore with your kids.  

Another suggestion is to set up a family group chat. It will help keep everyone in the know about upcoming dates and family plans without sending multiple texts.  

A father showing his young son how to use a joystick

You may even want to set up a family calendar so everyone can block off their schedules; a digital one or paper one. A wall calendar in a communal place (we keep ours on the fridge) may help keep track of upcoming dates of importance and school events to make carpool planning easier and to avoid conflicts in schedules. Younger kids can learn how to update and monitor the calendar too for their special theme days at school.  

The schools, and even individual classes, are going to have their own way of communicating. You might have an email address or a digital portal to send absent notes to, teachers will set up Google classrooms or email you newsletters and updates and principals will send school news and more. There will be fewer reminders being sent home by paper so this is where opening the emails and adding dates to your calendar ASAP will help. Trust me! 

The back-to-school season always comes with a fair bit of transition and planning, and let’s be honest, it can be a lot for tired parents (and kids). Especially if you’ve had little to no routine during the summer. Balancing work life, school life, and just life can feel overwhelming. Try to use online tools and organizing systems to see if they can make things easier throughout the school year. You’ve got this! 

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