How to get ready for school

Getting children ready and out the door on time can be difficult. Use these tips to find a morning routine that works.

Why do mornings seem so difficult? For parents, especially working parents, there is typically so much to do in a short period of time. “Morning is the time in which temperamental differences may be most evident – the child who is slow to get going clashes with the mother or father who is fast paced. Or the child who is crabby clashes with the parent who is also crabby,” say authors Ellen Galinsky and Judy David in their book “The Preschool Years: Family Strategies That Work – from Experts and Parents.” Mornings also provide the perfect opportunity for children to assert their individuality. With the clock ticking for work and meetings, this is prime time for power struggles.

Whether your children are going back to school or struggling with a new morning routine, getting ready for school or daycare doesn’t have to be a struggle. The Canadian Child Care Federation offers these tips for discovering how to get ready for school in a way that works for your family.

Tips for a Smooth Morning Routine for School or Daycare

  • Leave room for unhurried moments. Give yourselves time for some unhurried moments together before you have to leave the house. Make sure everybody has enough sleep and rises early enough to avoid rushing by trying to add 10 or 15 extra minutes to your usual schedule. If the child is ready on time, spend it reading, talking, or doing some other activity together, making sure you give him your undivided attention during this period. Be sure to follow through if you promise your child you’ll spend time together if the morning routine goes smoothly.
  • Complete chores the night before. To make the morning routine less stressful, do things the night before. After dinner, for example, prepare lunch boxes and leave them in the fridge overnight. And after you clear away the dinner things, set the breakfast table for the next morning. Ask family members to bath/shower/wash hair the night before, if possible. Gather permission forms, lunch money, or notebooks. Encourage your children to help with chores that are suitable for them.
  • Offer encouragement. If a small child is prone to dawdling, you may have to offer frequent gentle reminders. When you are busy in the kitchen and the child’s room is on another level, have her dress nearby where you can supervise while you work. Don’t forget to recognize your children’s good effort using encouragement on days when everything works well and your family starts the day on time!
  • Set reasonable expectations. Expect your children to do what they are capable of, for example washing and dressing themselves if they are old enough. This may be an unreasonable expectation for a younger child. Set one task at a time to make expectations seem more attainable.
  • Have a family meeting. During a family discussion, collaborate on how to make the morning routine run smoothly.
  • Get out the door. If a child has not been cooperative, use the extra 10-15 minutes to get him ready with as little fuss as possible. Do not scold or chat; just do what is necessary to leave on time.

Bright Horizons Work-Life Equation Podcast: Organizational Tips for Busy Families

In this episode of the Work-Life Equation, we’re revisiting a webinar from the archives all about getting organized and family routines. Our guests Ruth, Megan, and Mary, Bright Horizons parents just like you, reveal their day-in-life routines, from heading out in the morning and to winding down in the evening and getting ready for the next day. Pick up a few tips from these working moms to help you corral a chaotic daily grind.

Dealing with Resistance to a Daycare or School Morning Routine

Our children soon learn that when they resist, argue, or stall, they get our attention. These morning difficulties may arise even when we give our children plenty of attention at other times. What can you do to spur on the uncooperative child and give him a sense of power and control?

  • Encourage and remind, but try not to nag. Let them experience the consequences of procrastinating. This may mean missing breakfast or forgetting their homework.
  • Establish an agreement that the TV doesn’t go on in the morning until the chores are done, if at all.
  • Create a morning routine chart with your child, and involve your child by asking, “What’s next on the routine chart?” They can help cut out pictures and design the chart. Have stickers for your child to place on the steps she completes.
  • Use an alarm clock in children’s rooms. This will ensure that you wake them up at the same time each morning and you haven’t gotten lost looking over your emails. This will help prepare toddlers for elementary school as well.
  • Ask children whether they would like your help getting ready for school.
  • Avoid lectures. Instead, asking “what” and “how” questions – such as “what happens when you don’t get dressed in the morning?” and “How do you feel about missing the school bus?” – will entice conversation with our children. These questions help children think for themselves, whereas our lectures may make them stop listening.
  • Talk about times when you have procrastinated, what happened as a result, and how you felt about it. These conversations can be used as teachable moments for your kids.
  • Plan ahead, and give your child enough time to succeed on his own. Remember to give reminders and establish clear expectations regarding his morning routine.
  • Let your child know that you need her help and say, “I would appreciate you getting dressed so we can get to school before circle time.” This invites cooperation instead of defiance.

Bright Horizons Work-Life Equation Podcast: Peaceful Parenting on Busy Workdays

On this episode of the Work-Life Equation: Peaceful Parenting 101. We’ve all been there…the get-out-the-door chaos, the after-work frenzy, those toddler-parent moments when things just seem to go, “kaboom.” Is there a better way? Parenting expert and psychologist Jennifer Gillette says unequivocally…yes. She’s got the tips, tricks, and strategies to tame the tantrums and put what she calls Peaceful Parenting back into your day. Listen to this clip where our guest speaks about getting your child ready in the morning.

How to get ready for school

“What?! I asked you to brush them 10 minutes ago!” I responded, exasperated.

And so went our typical school morning last-minute dash to get out the door.

Each time it was the same: after breakfast I’d remind my daughters what they needed to do – bathe, get dressed, brush teeth, etc. – and then they scurried off to do it.

Except often they just scurried off and did half of what I’d asked. Three minutes before departure time I’d walk by their bedroom door only to discover they were half-way dressed or hadn’t brushed their hair.

In this crunch for time, my voice would rise to a steep pitch. Sometimes they protested back. “But you didn’t tell me I need to brush my hair!!” And all too often, we’d find ourselves driving to school angry at each other.

Hardly the best way to start our morning.

There has to be a better way, I’d think.

And then it dawned on me.

I had to stop managing the checklist myself

In general, my kids are fairly independent in the morning. They’ve learned to get themselves out of bed, make their own breakfast and pack their own lunches .

But when it comes to managing time and making sure they’re completely ready for school, up until recently the burden was on me to make it happen.

Every morning I kept a mental checklist of what needed to be accomplished and to make sure everyone was following through with enough time to spare.

As I ran around trying to get ready myself, I’d check in every 10 minutes: “Have you made your bed?” “Do you have socks on your feet?”

I wanted to hand this responsibility over to my kids but I didn’t know how.

The trick to getting kids to get ready for school without nagging or reminders

So as our summer came to a close this year, I was determined to find a better way.

Somehow I needed to get out of the driver’s seat of our morning rush and let them feel a greater sense of ownership and responsibility for getting themselves dressed and out the door in the morning.

And that’s when the simplest of ideas occurred to me: instead of keeping a mental list in my head of what needed to get done, I could instead write it down and give it to my girls. So now a printed list hangs in their bathroom to serve as a visual reference. As they go about their morning, my girls can check it see if they’re on track to be ready for school.

Sign up for my email list and get a copy of my Morning Routine for School Checklist as a free gift (click on the image below). The printout includes a copy of our family’s morning checklist and a blank sheet you can customize to your family’s needs.

What if my kids get up too late?

F or many kids, it’s more natural to sleep in in the morning no matter what time they get to bed. ( To see if your kids are getting enough sleep, click here ). For these kids, there just isn’t enough time in the morning to make lunches or pack their own bags AND get to school on time.

In these cases, the trick is to make sure as many tasks are complete the night before so that only essentials are taken care of in the morning. Try a night-before checklist and a shorter morning checklist.

Also, consider time-savers such as having ready-made healthy breakfast options to save time but still ensure kids get the most important meal of the day.

More pleasant rides to school

The night before the first day of school, with the list in hand, I talked to the girls about how this school year would be different. I would no longer be giving out orders in the morning. Instead, It was their responsibility to check the list I’d made to make sure they were ready for school.

They liked the idea. No surprise, since giving kids more responsibility boosts their self-esteem .

The next morning, I stumbled downstairs to find both girls in the midst of eating breakfast and making their own lunches.

As the morning progressed, they ran upstairs, referred to the checklist, and to my delight, began taking care of each task, one-by-one.

Showers were taken, beds made, and hair brushed…all without a single reminder from me.

“Mom, I checked the list!” my oldest exclaimed as she put on her shoes and packed her bag.

That morning the girls were ready with at least ten minutes to spare. And each morning since has continued to be stress-free as they check the list to make sure everything is complete.

And the best part? Instead of bearing the weight of trying to remember each task that needs to be completed before the start of school, now I simply say: “Have you done everything on the list?”

Somehow this question feels like less of an accusation to them and more of a we’re-in-this-together inquiry.

As we hopped into the car those first few days, discussions were about school and not time management.

We’re only a few days into the school year, so I’m not ready to declare complete victory yet. But so far so good.

Laureen Miles Brunelli is an experienced online writer and editor, specializing in content for parents who work at home.

Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee

Those first mornings of the school year can be tough. But if you don’t get an efficient school morning routine in place as the kids go back to school, it may not get better later in the school year. Plan and streamline your school morning routine, and you will get everyone back to school with less stress.

Wake Up Early

On the first days back to school, start your morning 15 to 20 minutes earlier than you think you need to. As the school year goes on, you may be able to adjust your wake-up times. But having a little extra time is a great cushion for those unexpected hiccups everyone experiences.

Some parents find that it's helpful for them to get up earlier than their kids, especially if they are trying to get out the door to work. Figure out how much interruption-free time you need before your kids get up. For instance, do you need your morning coffee before you see their bright, cheery faces?

Of course, other parents can roll out of bed, wake their kids, and get started on the day together. Regardless of what works for your family, a few extra minutes in the morning as you adjust to the beginning of the school year can be a real lifesaver.

Wake-up time is directly related to bedtime, especially with younger kids. You may want to start the school year with an early bedtime and adjust later​ if it seems warranted.

If, during the pandemic, your schedule was much more relaxed, establishing a morning routine could be a bit of a challenge initially. But making a point to wake up early and get started on the day without rushing will be beneficial for your family.

Get It Done the Night Before

For a smooth school morning, it helps to plan ahead. Encourage your kids to do what they can the night before. Before bed, make sure lunches are packed, clothes are laid out, breakfast is planned, devices are charging, and homework and other necessities are packed for school.

Some families find that taking showers and baths in the evenings are helpful, especially if your kids still need help with these. If this is the case for your family, consider making these things part of the kids' bedtime routine.

Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to do many of these tasks on their own, with supervision from you. Encouraging kids to prepare for the next day teaches important life skills like independence and time management. So don’t shy away from assigning your kids some of this work.

Many families find it useful to have a designated space in their home where they keep everything that is needed for the next day: backpacks, chargers, electronics, keys, shoes, water bottles, and any other necessities. Doing so saves them from running around the house the next morning looking for what they need.

Learn to Delegate

When kids are little, parents often do most everything for them, and sometimes they just stay in that habit even as they get older. A new school year is an ideal time to take a look at your child's skills and add new jobs to their morning routine.

Start practicing over the summer or on the weekends first. Teaching new skills on a hectic school morning may not be effective.

If you want your kids to take care of a chore that you’ve previously done for them, like feeding the dog, making their own lunch, or getting dressed, spend time teaching these skills when you’re not rushed. Don’t try to squeeze lessons into an already busy school morning.

Don't Sweat Breakfast

How to get ready for school

Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee

While it’s true that breakfast is important—some even argue that it’s the most important meal of the day—it doesn’t have to create extra pressure for you or your kids. Plan some easy breakfast meals that you can have on hand for your family.

Aside from cereal and milk, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, oatmeal, whole-grain bread or waffles, and smoothies make great breakfast options and are easy to grab in a rush. You even can make use of the breakfast offered by your child's school or daycare, if this option is offered. The key is that you aren't allowing breakfast to throw a wrench into getting the day started.

Another way to solve breakfast issues is to ask your kids what they want for breakfast the night before. Some kids can't plan that far in advance, but just starting them thinking can be helpful. Kids will respond much better if they know the night before that you're out of their favorite cereal, rather than when they are still foggy from sleep.

Make having breakfast every day a priority. Not only will it help nourish your kids, but it gives them a good start for the day and will allow them the energy they need to adjust to a new school year.

Have a Checklist

Trying to remember everything that needs to be done can be a challenge, especially at the beginning of the school year. Some families find it useful to develop a checklist for their morning routine. You might include items such as:

  • Brush hair and teeth
  • Wash face
  • Get dressed
  • Eat breakfast
  • Put on shoes
  • Grab lunch and devices
  • Double-check backpack
  • Use the bathroom
  • Turn off the lights

Even after kids get used to all the elements of the morning routine, you may need to double-check to be sure all the items have been completed. Some kids like to skip steps, like brushing their teeth.

Give Kids an Incentive

Sometimes kids need a little more motivation to get through their morning routines, especially if they don’t like school, are grumpy in the mornings, or are simply slow movers. To keep your mornings from becoming a battle, consider developing some incentives for your kids to get ready on time.

For instance, some kids will be sure they accomplish all their tasks if they know they are going to be allowed to play a game, read a book, or watch television before school. If you plan to motivate your kids with these types of rewards, make sure you build in a little extra time so they can enjoy them.

Having some time to relax before school can be a great way to decompress and may even help facilitate better focus and learning.

A Word From Verywell

You may need to tinker with your morning routine until it works for everyone involved. Be creative in your solutions and do what works best for your family. There are no right and wrong answers when it comes to establishing your family's morning routine. With a little time and creativity, you will soon have a morning routine that works for the entire family.

How to get ready for school

How to get ready for schoolStarting school for the first time is an important milestone in your child’s life and how you support them can make a real difference to how well they settle into school. We have developed a leaflet which explains some useful things that you can help your child to practise to get ready for school. There are also some links to other websites on this page which give more information, hints and suggestions.

This is a leaflet for families which gives some practical tips on things that can help to prepare a child to be ready to start school:
Is Your Child Ready for School? – A Guide for Families

If you have any queries or concerns about your pre-school child, please contact your Health Visitor or speak to your child’s preschool, nursery or other settings. Contact details for Health Visitors can be found here https://www.ghc.nhs.uk/our-teams-and-services/health-visiting/

Other Useful Information

Bookstart is a national scheme for pre-school children. It aims to help families discover the fun and excitement of sharing books together.
Libraries’ Bookstart page

Chat, Play, Read: Department for Education campaign

Video starring journalist, Natasha Kaplinsky and media psychologist Emma Kenny. A useful tool which guides parents on how they can Chat, Play and Read with their child. The film shows that interacting with their children can be a fun and happy time for both parent and child.

Small Talk website, featuring videos, advice and information to help parents make chatting, playing and reading activities part of their daily routine with children
https://small-talk.org.uk/

Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning

Gloucestershire Healthy Living and Learning (GHLL) work with schools and colleges to support children and young people to make positive choices to improve their physical, emotional and mental well-being.
Find out more via their website www.ghll.org.uk which includes advice for parents and carers www.ghll.org.uk/family/ and links to Partnership organisations www.ghll.org.uk/partnership-projects/.

Hungry Little Minds

Words for Life is the National Literacy Trust’s website for parents

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information Advice and Support Service or SENDIASS provides free impartial, confidential and accurate information, advice and support about education, health and social care for children, young people and their parents on matters relating to special educational needs and disability.

PACEY

A toolkit which offers support before school, during the first few days and throughout the school year
https://www.pacey.org.uk/parents/toolkit/

Home-Start Big Hopes Big Future

Home-Start

A range of resources for Pre-School children including:

  • Simple games you can try together at home
    Free and easy games to play at home with children
  • Writing activities to do with children
    Making books is a very effective way of encouraging children to want to read and write.

BookTrust

Change 4 life

Fun ideas to keep your kids stay healthy
https://www.nhs.uk/change4life

Action on ACESs

Information and resources about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs are traumatic events that affect children while growing up, such as suffering child maltreatment or living in a household affected by domestic violence, substance misuse or mental illness.
https://www.actionaces.org/

A short video about one person’s story of how ACEs affected his life

Tiny Happy People

The BBC initiative Tiny Happy People has lots of activities, information, tips and advice on ways to develop your child’s communication skills.

It’s very normal as a parent to be concerned about your child getting ready for school. Skills related to reading and writing, counting and arithmetic, and the ability to solve logical problems become very important for the first time in your child’s life when they start school. Usually, parents are the most worried about these things. Many parents are so concerned about their kids that they teach them to read and write before they actually enter school in an attempt to prevent the challenges that their children may face — but this is only one aspect of readiness a child could have before beginning school. Read on for the full scope of skills and ‘soft skills’ that your child needs to get ready to start school.

How to get ready for school

Assessment of Psychological Readiness for School Admission

In pursuit of knowledge and skills, many parents do not think about how to psychologically prepare their kids for this huge adjustment. It is not only the academic challenges that will be new to the first graders or year one students, but there will also be new children, teachers, and a system of rules, regulations, and assessment.

When assessing a child’s readiness for school, specialists usually consider such indicators as the child’s:

  • desire to learn new things;
  • ability to concentrate and hold attention in accordance with the instructions and rules;
  • ability to initiate and maintain conversations with teachers and children, to ask clarifying questions, and to defend their point of view;
  • ability to organize and maintain group interaction in class and free time;
  • self-control and self-organization;

knowledge and understanding about the world around us; As you can see, reading and writing skills are not required when entering school, with the main emphasis of determining if a child is ready for school being personal and communicative aspects of children’s development.

Getting Ready for School Intellectually

When considering getting ready for school, most parents are primarily focused on the intellectual readiness of the child for school. Intellectual readiness includes:

  • sufficient knowledge and understanding of their environment,
  • development of cognitive functions, such as attention, memory, critical thinking, perception, imagination, speech, etc.
  • understanding of knowledge required for school learning (awareness of the concepts of mathematics, reading, and writing)

Without a doubt, the above described knowledge is very valuable, however, perfect adaptation of the child to school is never guaranteed. There will be challenges no matter what, but your child’s interest in learning and gaining knowledge along with sufficient communication skills will surely be crucial. It is absolutely vital to remember that parents only need to pay attention to preparing their children to learn to read and write, and not their actual reading and writing skills. Teachers will teach them how to read and write at school!

How to get ready for school

Personally and Emotionally Getting Ready for School

Aside from intellectually getting ready for school, there are also important aspects to consider such as interpersonal relationships and maturity. Personal preparedness for school involves a set of considerations such as:

  • motivation to learn: Does the child wants to go to school? Do they understand the importance of the learning process? Are they interested in acquiring new knowledge?
  • ability to behave according to the rules: Does the child have the capability to act in accordance with the school rules, even if the child does not want to? Does the child understand when rules need to be followed and that they should respect and listen to their teachers?
  • self-control, proper behavior, ability to identify own mistakes and correct them. Can the child sit still for multiple hours and behave? If the child makes a mistake, do they have the emotional maturity and insight to realize it and apologize? Most importantly, can they learn from their mistake and not repeat it?

According to many scientists and practitioners, it is personal maturity that is the critical factor of a child’s readiness for school. The child’s desire to learn new things and their ability to manage activities and behavior will generally be proportional to the intellectual readiness of the child, and subsequently contribute to the sociometric status in the group. Personal maturity of a child includes the ability to fulfill the requirements of the teacher, and to control their own behavior.

Social and Communicative Readiness for School

Childrens’ adaptation to school depends largely on their ability to communicate with other children and teachers. Communication readiness includes the following:

  • child’s willingness to communicate with other children, to participate in group activities, to accept opposite opinions and to obey the rules of children’s groups;
  • the ability to initiate and maintain the activities of others, to negotiate and compromise, and to express a personal point of view;
  • sufficient emotional stability and self-regulation — ability to adequately assess the situation and constructively express own emotions in communication with others while reducing the number of impulsive reactions.
  • Obviously no first-grader will be completely emotionally mature, but in general it is important that the child is not at a significantly different level than their peers. Remember that there will definitely be social challenges no matter what, so try to patient and help your child be patient at first.

How to get ready for school

Psychological and Physical Readiness for School

In addition to all the above, the psychological readiness of the child to school will be influenced by the physiological factors:

  • development of small muscles of the hand: how confident is the child with scissors and pencil?
  • spatial orientation, coordination of movements: Can the child correctly determine the relative positions of objects and movement directions: higher-lower, more-less, forward-backward?
  • motor dexterity, including different motor skills such as running, jumping, tying shoelaces, etc.
  • lateralization (which hand is leading) that affects the orientation in space and on the paper. Does the child know left and right?
  • visual-motor coordination in the eye-hand system: can the child can draw simple shapes that are recognizable?

Considering the above, school readiness is a combination of skills and abilities that characterize the maturity of the child and their ability to socialize appropriately and do various learning exercises. However, a child will face emotional and psychological challenges in the case of the absence of some of the previously discussed crucial skills.

If you clearly understand that your child lacks some of the skills mentioned previously, make every effort you can to help them with the development of such skills before your kid enters school.

Suggeseted reading:

Don’t forget that although this can be a challenging time, it is also one of the most exciting times! 4

Newly revised and udpated, this fun and lively fill-in workbook—packed with more than 400 teacher-approved, common core-aligned activities—is a must-have to help your first grader get ready for school. 

  • Spell more difficult words by teaching familiarity with vowels, consonants, word families, and suffixes
  • Recognize different types of words like nouns, proper nouns, and action words
  • Master addition and subtraction
  • Understand scientific concepts such as weather, life cycles, and the senses
  • Learn to tell time and to recognize and count money

Whether it's used during summer break, for extra practice during the school year, or for at home schooling, Get Ready for School: First Grade is the perfect study aid for every young scholar.

Look Inside!

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Useful information on making sure your child is ready for school.

‘Every child grows and learns in different ways, you are your child’s first teacher and at every step, you make a difference to their experience at school’

If your child is due to start school soon, you may have received this leaflet from Gloucestershire County Council. (PDF).

Starting school is an exciting time for parents/carers and children, and there are things you can do to help make sure your child gets the most out of the experience. The information on this page has been produced by your health visiting team to help you feel confident in supporting your preschool child to be ready for school.

How to get ready for school

Play and Development

Is your child toilet trained? Can they go to the toilet, wipe themselves, pull their clothes up/down and wash their hands by themselves?

Can they put their shoes and coat on, and take them off unassisted?

Without being given help by pointing or repeating, can they listen and follow three instructions? For example:

  • Clap your hands
  • Walk to the door
  • Sit down

Can they tell you at least four of the following?

  • Their first name
  • Their last name
  • Their age
  • Whether they are a boy or a girl
  • The town or city where they live

Can they tell you the names of two or more friends, not including siblings?

After exciting activities can they calm themselves down and be ready for the next activity?

Can they stay with a play activity for at least 10 minutes?

Do they go to bed at a regular time and sleep for at least 10 hours?

If you have answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, contact your health visiting team for advice and support.

How to get ready for school

Q: School mornings are a real struggle in my house. My kids have to do just six things each morning: Get up, get dressed, brush their teeth, comb their hair, eat some breakfast and get their shoes on. But, every single morning, I find them dawdling over breakfast or having trouble picking out an outfit. By the time I drop them off at school, I’m frustrated, and they’re upset because I’ve nagged them all morning.

How can I help my kids do better getting ready for school?

Getting ready for school is a constant source of strife for many families

In a survey from Indeed, 62% of moms rated adjusting to a new morning routine as their top challenge when their kids started school.

On those busy mornings, today’s parents often are sleep deprived and stressed about the day ahead as they attempt to wrangle kids who are in no hurry to leave and may not even understand the concept of time.

“The kids don’t understand why it’s important,” said Brad Weinstein, co-author of Hacking School Discipline: 9 Ways to Create a Culture of Empathy and Responsibility Using Restorative Justice, “They are taking their sweet little time. They don’t have the adult’s ability to reason, and what is important to them is not important to you that morning.”

But, said Weinstein, there’s a solution—setting a routine and sticking to it.

“You can’t wake a kid up at 7:45 on one day and 7:30 on another day and 8 on another day. It’s having a consistent bedtime as well as a consistent routine in the morning,” said Weinstein, who also is chief innovation officer for BehaviorFlip. “Once you have a routine that you stick to every day and you don’t deviate from it, that’s when you have success.”

Routines are critical for children. They give kids a sense of security and allow them to develop self-discipline, according to Aha! Parenting, a website created by clinical psychologist and author Laura Markham.

And, while getting ready for school will require kids to complete specific tasks, Markham, in her book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, encourages parents to focus also on the benefits of a happier morning.

“Reframe your idea of the morning routine,” she writes. “What if your main job were to connect emotionally? That way, your child would have a genuinely ‘full cup.’ Not only would he be more ready to cooperate with you, he’d be more able to rise to the developmental challenges of the day.”

Weinstein and Markham set out some simple tips to get your routine in order.

Prep the night before

Pack lunches, have your kids lay out their clothes, get backpacks ready and make sure all the shoes are where they should be. “It might take half an hour of struggle to pick the right shirt and the right socks, but, in the morning, that’s not when that struggle occurs,” Weinstein said.

Go to bed on time

A good night’s sleep will help ensure kids are ready to handle the day ahead. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a simple nighttime ritual that involves brushing teeth, reading a book or two and going to bed at the same time each night. That consistent bedtime is vital for parents too, writes Markham.

“Your child depends on you to start your own day with a ‘full cup,’” she writes. “There’s no way to stay patient when you’re exhausted.”

Make the morning routine simple

Getting ready for school by doing most of the work the night before means that all your kids need to worry about is getting dressed and eating some breakfast. There’s no last-minute hunt for a homework assignment or a single shoe. “It’s a matter of keeping and sticking to that morning routine because you prepped the night before to make it smooth,” Weinstein said. “It’s frontloading.”

Build in some snuggles

It might sound impossible, but Markham writes that it’s well worth the effort to include five minutes or so to snuggle with each child before you go your separate ways for the day. “If everything else is already done, you can relax for 10 minutes,” she writes. “That time connecting with your child will transform your morning.”

Don’t come to their rescue

“If we always remember things for our kids or bail them out by driving the lunch box to school, there’s no reason for them to ever take responsibility and remember for themselves. By refusing to rescue our kids, we’ll train them for better behavior in the future. But we can’t just spring the no-rescue policy on children without warning—let them know in advance that part of growing up is taking responsibility for themselves, and that you won’t be driving forgotten items to school. If they forget their homework or lunch, they’ll need to face the consequences – they won’t starve, but I promise they’ll remember the lunch box the next day!”

Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, via Today

Set it to music

“Create a playlist of your child’s favorite songs. Every task (use the bathroom, get dressed, eat breakfast) is connected to one song and must be completed by the time the song is over. Your kids will happily sing along; just make sure they don’t get distracted having a dance party.”

Jill Cedar, a psychotherapist, via Today Parenting Team

Get crafty

“Together with your child, create a chart that details the sequence in which each morning activity should take place. Help her get into the habit of referring to the chart every day. (For pre-readers, use pictures to denote activities, such as a toothpaste advertisement clipped from a magazine to represent teeth-brushing time.) Or have your child make a tape recording in which he reminds himself what to do and when to do it. No more being nagged by Mom or Dad!”

Kindergarten is a two-year program. It is available to any child turning four (4) on or before December 31 and reflects the educational policies and learning expectations of the Ministry of Education and Training.

Resources

Multilingual Resources

Take Advantage of Community Services

There are many community services to support your growing child, including those to detect hearing, vision and speech and language concerns. See some of the resources from our community health partners.

How to Prepare your Child for School

Often, parents ask what they can do to prepare their child for school. Here are some suggestions:

Talk and play together

Talk with your child. Ask for opinions, respond to questions, re-tell events and stories. When you talk with your child, you help build vocabulary and get to know one another better. Playing together can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences for families.

Read stories and sing together

Reading and singing together in your home language is a joyful way to promote literacy skills.

Provide enriching experiences

Visit the school or local library, and share experiences such as neighbourhood walks.

Support your child’s healthy mind and body

Ensure your child has consistent routines, lots of sleep every night, and healthy foods.

This information expires once printed. Please always refer to the online version for the most current information.

Children are interested in all sorts of things and enjoy learning and exploring. Starting school is a big moment for children and you as their parents or carers.

Have a look at our video for some hints and tips to help you support your child to be ready for starting school. The video was filmed before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tips for parents and carers

A child’s first day at school, is a big moment for you and for them and it can be both an exciting and nervous time.

With so much information and lots to prepare for, being in a routine and helping them to get plenty of sleep will help them.

Here are some other ways you can give your child help and encouragement to help them be ready for school.

Speaking and listening

To help make sure your child can:

  • use words, objects or gestures to help them explain what they need to a grown-up
  • listen to and follow instructions
  • sit and listen for a short while, for example to a story
  • tell you when they are hungry, tired or need the toilet
  • chat with your child when you’re out on a walk – talk about what you can see and give them time to chat to you back in a way they are comfortable with
  • listen to your child’s questions and help them to answer them
  • talk to them about things you are doing to help them learn and give them time to ask and answer questions
  • provide opportunities for chatting, playing and interacting together
  • spend time together reading, telling stories or singing songs
  • allow opportunities to play, create imagination and build curiosity

Independence skills

To help make sure your child can:

  • put on their coat, fasten it, take it off and hang it up
  • wash and dry their hands by themselves
  • go to the toilet by themselves
  • use a knife and fork to feed themselves
  • drink from a cup
  • check that your child can undo and do up their clothes. Give them time to practice this
  • show and give your child simple instructions so that they are able to learn how to do these things and give them the time to practice
  • encourage your child to use the toilet so that they are able to go on their own
  • make it fun for your child to practice doing these things and give lots of encouragement and praise
  • sit down and eat meals with your child, encouraging them to taste a variety of healthier foods

Interacting with others

To help make sure your child can:

  • choose the toys they wish to play with and make up ideas of games to play or things to do
  • watch what other children and doing and join in playing with them
  • feel comfortable when you are not around and can communicate with other grown-ups and children
  • play listening games together, for example Simon Says
  • help your child to use some of their toys to make up a story
  • visit groups together, for example, libraries, play-groups or nursery where they can meet other children and interact with them
  • spend time together talking about the things you know and give your child time to talk back to you about their family and friends
  • spend time together talking about school – answer their questions, find out how they are feeling and talk to them to help put them at ease

Don’t worry if your child is unable to do all of these things. Help is available by speaking to

  • your health visitor by ringing 0300 247 0040
  • your child’s key worker at nursery
  • primary schools, when you are applying for your child’s school place

Alternatively you can visit these websites for more information:

Find services and support local to you through your local Children and Family Wellbeing Service.

Find information about extra help for your child on the special educational needs and disabilities local offer.

Hungry Little Minds (external link) provides lots of simple tips and activities that you can slot into your routine and that children love.

Information for professionals includes how to share this information with families and a leaflet to download.

How to get ready for school

Between getting dressed, fed, and organized, it’s a miracle the kids make it to school at all. Get out the door faster this semester with these parent-approved tips.

How to get ready for school

If kids know where to store their backpacks, jackets, and shoes as soon as they get home, they won’t have to rush around the next morning trying to collect it all again. “I use stick-on hooks for everything,” says Marisa LaScala, GoodHouskeeping.com’s parenting and relationships editor. “I put them at my 3-year-old daughter’s height, and now she automatically hangs up her things after school by herself.”

How to get ready for school

Field trips won’t sneak up on you if the day’s events are posted right on the fridge. Going paperless? Good Housekeeping‘s organizing expert Jeffrey Phillip recommends the app Cozi for a streamlined system. It syncs up with multiple phones and includes daily schedules for each family member.

How to get ready for school

Avoid last-minute scrambling by asking kids about permission slips, tests, or reports cards at night, before the morning rush. Create a family inbox for important paperwork so anything you need to see will actually get to your attention (and not stay stuffed in a backpack).

How to get ready for school

This strategy tops lots of parents’ lists for a reason. Lay out clothes for the next morning (or even the next week), and preempt any debates on what’s considered appropriate school attire.

How to get ready for school

When dad Chris Pegula, author of the book From Dude to Dad, noticed his friend’s kids packing their lunch at night, a light bulb went off. “I looked in amazement as they made their choices,” he said. “Within seconds they filled their lunch totes, and were onto the next task of getting ready for bed.”

How to get ready for school

Besides putting homework away ahead of time, professional organizer Janet Bernstein has her kids’ phones charge on top of their backpacks each night, so they never forget them. “Implement this rule, and you’ve also solved the ‘no devices in the bedroom’ argument,” she says.

How to get ready for school

Keep clocks on hand — in the bedrooms and in the bathroom — so kids will know if they’re falling behind schedule. For older ones, an old-school alarm clock is better than a smartphone alarm, because it’ll reduce the temptation to start checking social media first thing in the morning.

How to get ready for school

Setting a timer to ring intermittently (“15 minutes ’til the bus! Five minutes! Time to go!”) is a popular tactic, but one of our Facebook fans took it to a new level: “I bought a wireless doorbell and put the bell part in my kids’ room,” she says. “I set the sound to ‘gong’ and press it several times in the morning to wake them up.”

How to get ready for school

Moms aren’t immune to lateness either. Find ways to improve your own routine: Designate a tray for keys if you’re constantly misplacing them, invest in a programmable coffee maker that’ll start brewing before you wake up, and fill your gas tank in the evenings to make for a smoother start to the day.

How to get ready for school

Try to keep herding everyone toward the door, and cut down on the amount of trips you take in and out of your bedrooms. “In our household, no one goes downstairs for the day without being dressed,” says Andrea Worthington, owner of BabyGotChat. “It means they’re eating breakfast in their school clothes, but not having to drag them back upstairs and then drag them back downstairs is an easy ten minutes saved.”

How to get ready for school

A brunch buffet may not be in the cards, but you can still get kids fed and full with a quick bowl of cereal, healthy breakfast bars, overnight oats or even frittata muffins. You can bake ’em on Sunday, and then reheat all week.

How to get ready for school

Try to stay assertive, saying things like, “It’s time to put on your shoes — do you want the red boots or the blue sneakers?” instead of, “Put on your shoes, okay?” That way, you give your kids a chance to give their input, but you’re giving them fewer opportunities to just shout, “No!”

How to get ready for school

Playing games at the bus stop or making it a race out the door can give kids an incentive to get moving. “I promised my kids muffins from the bakery near the school, which we could only get if we had time,” says Stephanie Dolgoff, Deputy Director at Good Housekeeping.

How to get ready for school

‘Let’s Get Ready for School’ is a reassuring guide to what to expect when you start school. It’s written by me and illustrated by Carolina Rabei, and is published by Walker Books (August 2021).

What will school be like? What will we do there? What if I miss Mummy? Do I have to go?
All of these questions and more are answered in this warm, witty and reassuring book for young children that explores everything they’ll need to know before starting school. Marley, Maya, Theo, Akiko, Ella and Zakir are all getting ready to start school. Why not come along with them and see what it’s like? Illustrated with charming characters by Carolina Rabei, this is the perfect introduction to joining a new class.

“A fantastic and reassuring new guide to school for young children. With simple, easy-to-understand text from Jane Porter, the book covers everything from what’s inside a classroom to lunchtime, playtime, and the journey to and from school. The book is brought to life with super illustrations from Carolina Rabei, too, making this a wonderful way to get talking about your child’s big day.” Booktrust

You can watch me and Carolina chatting about our starting school memories in this video.

How to get ready for school

It’s that time of year again: time to get ready for the back to school season!

It may only be August, but summer has a way of flying by. Before we know it, school bells to start a new year will be ringing.

To help get you started, we’ve created a list of the top 10 things to get your child (and you!) ready for smooth sailing on the first day of school.

10 Tips For Preparing For Back To School

  1. Start a morning schedule

Wake your kids up at what will be their regular morning wake-up time. For older children, help them set an alarm clock so they can take responsibility for their own morning wake-up routine.

By now, we all know kids need a nutritious breakfast so they are ready to take on the day. Incorporate healthy breakfast options like apples, bananas, and whole grain toast. This will give them the energy they need to be mentally alert all day, instead of the mid-morning crash they’ll get from sugary cereals.

Avoid frantic mornings by having your child choose what he or she will wear the night before. If you have a younger child, let him or her pick from a couple different options. Get into a routine of doing this even before school starts so your child is in the habit of planning ahead.

In the days or weeks before school starts, plan and make your lunches for the next day together each night. Even though school isn’t in session yet, you can help your kids get used to packing a lunch by having it labeled and ready to go each morning.

Start eating lunch at the same time as your child will be when he or she is at school. This will help get your child’s stomach on a schedule so he or she isn’t going to class hungry and distracted.

Start getting into a homework routine now by having TV-free time during after-school hours. Use this time for a learning activity like reading a book or even talking about your day together.

Playing games over the summer is a great way to keep you child’s mind engaged and focused on building learning skills. This will help make sure your child is prepared when classes start and make the back to school transition a smoother one.

Early bedtimes usually go out the window over the summer break, but young minds need plenty of sleep to be ready to learn. Get back into a set bedtime routine now so your child isn’t up late the night before the first day of school.

Learning shouldn’t stop over the summer. Each day, take at least 30 minutes to sit with your child and read together. This will help keep him or her engaged with learning and in the routine of daily schoolwork.

Take your child shopping for back-to-school supplies he or she will need to get the year off to a successful start. Shopping for backpacks, binders, and pencil cases will get your child thinking (and excited) about the upcoming school year.

Need some extra help? Find a program for your child or contact a GradePower Learning location near you!

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How to get ready for school

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How to get ready for school

The sun begins to set a bit earlier, the temperature slowly drops, and families gradually return from their summertime getaways. These are all signs the school season is upon us. While there are still a few more weeks left until our scholars are back in the classroom, now is the perfect time to prepare for their first day of school. We’ve put together a list of practical tips to help our families start the new school year off on the right foot. Check them out below.

Do you have helpful back-to-school tips you’d like to share? Email them to us at [email protected], and we’ll add them to our list next year.

Start a bedtime and morning routine.

During summer break, parents and guardians tend to be lenient with their kids’ bedtimes. And, they should! It’s summer break, after all. A grumpy and groggy scholar won’t be attentive or productive at school, so start easing your little one back into a bedtime and morning routine. You can start slowly by incrementally setting them to bed and waking them up until they’ve adjusted. Here are some tips to help your scholar get back into a normal sleep schedule.

Preview the school year calendar.

Nothing is worse than forgetting when there’s a half-day at your child’s school or a parent-teacher conference. Make sure to get a copy of your school’s calendar for the year, so you’re up to date with all our scheduled holidays, special events, and other important dates. If you don’t have a calendar, reach out to your child’s school to get one. You can find a list of our schools here .

Talk to your child about their goals for the year.

Part of having a successful school year is knowing your child’s strengths and areas of improvement. Have an open and honest conversation with your scholar about which subject or activity they want to improve this school year. Let them know you and their teachers are there to help them improve. Connecting with them and understanding their goals will position you to be a source of support and motivation for them.

Make a commute to school plan.

This year, all of our students will be returning to school for in-person learning. Maybe subway trains are running on a modified schedule, maybe your scholar missed their bus, or maybe they’re attending a brand new location — your child should know how to get to and from their school. Practice traveling with them or create a plan on how they plan to go to and back from their school.

Let them know it’s OK to feel nervous.

It’s been an unpredictable and challenging year for everyone. Going back to school can trigger anxiety for many, including our scholars. If your child feels nervous, reassure them that it’s OK to feel their feelings and help them work through it. And, if you have questions or concerns, reach out to your school’s main office for support.

Kindergarten is a major step for young children — their first day of “big kid” school. As exciting as this time may be for some, many kindergarteners struggle initially with the long days, challenging curriculum and time spent away from loved ones.

To get your student ready to learn, child psychologist Amie Bettencourt from the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry offers helpful tips.

What can parents do to help prepare?

Establish strong routines at home.

Routines help children learn, make them feel safe and in control of their world, and foster their self-confidence and sense of belonging within the family. Some key family routines that will help children feel ready for kindergarten include:

Bedtime Routines

Bedtime routines ensure kids get a good night’s sleep and will be ready for the next day’s adventures. Some important parts of a bedtime routine include a consistent bedtime and a predictable order of activities (e.g., take a bath, put on pajamas, brush teeth, read favorite story or sing favorite song, get a goodnight hug or kiss from their caregiver).

Reading Routines

Parents are encouraged to read with their children for at least 20 minutes a day to build language and literacy skills. This reading routine can be part of the bedtime routine or at another time convenient for you and your child. A good way to make this time child-centered (and increase your child’s enjoyment and engagement in this time together) is by letting your child pick out the book.

Family Mealtime Routines

Having a family mealtime routine is not only an opportunity to teach your children about healthy eating habits, but is also a chance to spend quality time talking with your children, which builds their language and strengthens their relationship with you. You can also build in routines around mealtime that will be useful to your children in school, such as washing your hands before dinner or teaching them how to clear dishes from the table.

Stay up to date with vaccinations.

Take your child to the pediatrician for a checkup, and make sure all immunizations needed for kindergarten are up to date.

Tell your child what to expect.

Talk to your child about what kindergarten will be like to help them start preparing for this big transition. Children often have lots of questions about kindergarten, particularly if they are starting at a new school.

  • Spend time talking with your child about what kindergarten will be like (e.g., who will be the teacher, what will the daily school routine look like, etc.).
  • Involve him or her in picking out their school materials (e.g., backpack, clothes, etc.).
  • You can also talk about what going to kindergarten was like for you as a way to model how your child can share feelings about kindergarten.

Once school begins, what are some conversation starters parents can use to get their child talking about school?

Ideally, talking with your child about school should be part of your family’s daily routine. Talking with your children not only gives you an opportunity to learn what they are doing in school and how they feel about school, but also provides an opportunity for you to communicate that school is important.

But getting conversations started with your young child about school is not always easy, as some children provide very little detail in response to the question, “How was school today?”

So here are a few other ways that you can get the conversation started with your children about school:

  • Ask your children to tell you one new thing they did or learned about in school that day.
  • Ask your children to tell you one thing they liked and one thing that was difficult about school that day.
  • Ask your children about who they played with in school and what games they played.
  • Create a family routine around talking about your day. For example, during mealtime or another time when you are spending time with your children, you can model how to talk about your day by sharing one or two things that you did that day and then asking your children to share one or two things about their day.

What specific aspects of kindergarten do new students struggle with?

Kindergarten is much more rigorous today than when most parents were growing up. In fact, children spend much more time engaged in structured reading and math activities than time spent in socialization and play-based learning. As a result, there is a mismatch between a child’s developmental stage and the academic skills he or she is required to master. Below are some of the issues that new kindergarteners may struggle with:

When children enter school for the first time, it can be exciting and scary for both parent and child. Parents can prepare children for school in a variety of ways. In fact, you have been preparing your child for school from the day that they were born. Being able to understand and use language will help your child learn many of the basic skills that are part of school. These include recognizing letters, knowing the sounds letters make and having experience looking at books. The kindergarten program focusses on learning language, math, science, technology and arts through play. With a focus on developing personal and social skills, children learn about the world and how it works, about other people, and about themselves.

One of the most important things that parents can do to get their child ready for school is to read to them from a very early age. Children who have had books in their life have a better chance of succeeding in school. Even babies like to cuddle with parents and share a good book. It is important when you are reading to your child that you talk about what is in the book and not just worry about the words. Babies like to hear animal sounds. Making fun sounds, while you are sharing a book tells your child that books can be fun and exciting and keeps their attention.

As your child gets older and starts paying more attention to the story, you can show him the letters and words on the page and talk about the letter that is at the beginning of your child’s name. This will help your child to become aware of print, both the letters and then the sounds that the letters make.

Library story times for children provide wonderful opportunities for you to share stories, rhymes and books with your child. Visits to the library story times will give your child a chance to listen to stories with a group of children. This is something that they will be doing when they get to school. When they have had experience being with other children and learning with other children, it will make the transition to school easier and they will have already experienced group sharing.

Children enjoy as many opportunities as possible to spend time with other children. Programs at the Ontario Early Years Centres have many interesting games and toys and often will also have a circle time for children to learn new songs and rhymes. Music provides skills that will later help children with reading development and other areas of learning. The Early Years Centres also offer Family Math programs that help to develop some of the early skills that children will need for developing their math skills when they get to school. Learn more about programs at the Ontario Early Years Centers.

If you give your child the chance to complete specific tasks, they will be more independent when they get to school. Children enjoy taking on responsibility at home. A four year old can put napkins on the table, can put away their pajamas and certainly can help clean up their toys. Research has told us that children who have responsibilities at home, even from a very young age, have more positive self-esteem. Giving children expectations at home will make it easier for them to take responsibility at school.

You are not expected to sit down and start to teach your child to read, write and do math, before they get to school. If you provide them with fun experiences, opportunities to explore, and opportunities to talk about what they have experienced, you will be setting them up for success. When you give children books, involve them in community programs, talk to them and listen to them, they will develop language skills and positive self-esteem that will help them to be successful in school.

Children who have been receiving therapy at tykeTALK will be transitioned to school- based speech and language services. This usually happens either before or sometime during the Junior Kindergarten year. When you register your child for school, it is important to let the school know that your child is receiving or received services from tykeTALK. Find more information on making a successful transition to school from tykeTALK.

A number of schools in the Thames Valley District have “Ready for School” programs that give children the opportunity to visit their local school in the spring before they begin school. This gives the child the chance to see the school they will be attending and often to meet their classmates and their teacher. Contact your local school for details.

Click below for more information about preparing your child for school.

How to get ready for school

Get the little ones geared up and ready, with these do-it-now ideas to ease into a new school year. Send ’em back from an organized home!

Move over, summer–a new school year is coming! With the start of school, families face new organization challenges.

School bells ring–and so do early-morning alarm clocks. Paper piles swell as hand-outs and homework stream into the house. Shorter autumn days bring a hectic round of sports, activities and events, and calendars fill with cryptic notes. Can the holidays be far behind?

Get organized now for the best school year ever! Use these ideas to prepare your home and family for the busy days ahead.

Ease the family into a school year schedule.

The first day of school is no time for a drastic adjustment of household sleep schedules. Instead, ease children back into a school year routine gradually. During the last two weeks of summer, re-introduce a school year bedtime. Begin waking late sleepers earlier and earlier, closer to the hour they’ll need to rise when school begins.

Don’t neglect mealtimes! Younger children, in particular, need to adapt to new meal routines before the school day demands it of them. Plan meals and snacks to accustom little ones to rituals of the school day before the school year begins.

Create Calendar Central

Each school year floats on a sea of schedules. School functions. Lunch menus. Scout meetings and music lessons. What do you do when you’re drowning in paper?

Nothing calms school year chaos like Calendar Central: a centralized site for all family calendars and schedules. You’ll need a family event calendar to track after-school activities, school programs and volunteer work. Add specialized calendars and schedules, and you have it: a one-stop shop for family time management.

Form is less important than function. A paper calendar with large squares lets you enter information easily. Pre-printed white board calendars are easy to revise when necessary. Color-coding entries by family member helps keep busy lives straight.

Paper planner fans dedicate a planner section to serve as Calendar Central, while tech-savvy cybergrrrlz store the info in a smart phone or tablet and sync with multiple computers. Choose a calendar format that works for your family.

Post the family event calendar in a public place near the telephone. Use magnets to attach the calendar to the refrigerator, or tack it to a bulletin board.

Add other calendars to Calendar Central: school lunch menus, class assignment sheets, sports practice schedules. When the room mother calls for field trip volunteers, you’ll know at a glance whether you’re free to join the group on the bus that day.

Plan before you shop

August is the second-biggest sales month for clothing retailers. Back to school clothing sales begin as early as July! Are you prepared to run the school clothes gauntlet?

An informed shopper is a savvy shopper, so prepare before you shop.

Take an afternoon and assess each child’s clothing needs.

Empty drawers and closets of outgrown or worn-out clothing, and either store or donate the discards.

Working with your child, clean and organize clothing storage before new garments are added–and cut down on school morning calls of “Mom! I don’t have any clean . . . . “

Develop a wardrobe needs list for each child. Check for possible hand-me-downs from older siblings as you make your list. If you discuss the needs list and the family budget with your children before you shop, you’ll avoid in-the-store tantrums.

Similarly, ask the school for classroom supply lists before shopping for school supplies. Forewarned is forearmed . and helps protect the family budget.

Do shop early! With back-to-school sales beginning in mid-July, tardy shoppers have a tough time locating needed supplies among September’s Halloween costumes and Christmas decorations.

Gather your papers

School entry may require documentation from immunization records to report cards from the previous school year. Athletes need proof of medical examination. A little preparation can prevent frantic last-minute searches for a birth certificate or registration confirmation.

Call your child’s school or check the school district Web site beforehand to find out what paperwork will be required–then find it! You won’t be sorry come registration day.

Take aim on morning madness

How are school mornings in your home? Crazed and chaotic, or calm and cheerful? Plan ahead to send your schoolchildren–and yourself!–out the door in a happy frame of mind.

Each evening, think ahead to the following morning; where can you lighten the load? Set the breakfast table as you clear the dinner dishes, and make sure breakfast foods are easy to reach. Lay out children’s clothing the night before. Scan backpacks or launch pad spaces for missing homework, projects or library books. Make sure musical instruments or sports bags are packed and ready to go.

Do “bathroom wars” break out daily among the small fry? Multi-child households may need a bathroom schedule so that everyone gets equal time before the mirror.

What do you do about books and papers, lunch money and permission slips? Practice the Launch Pad concept! By creating a dedicated space for every family member, a Launch Pad gets the family out the door in record time–and organized.

Make a practice run

How will children get to school? The first day of school is no time to find out it takes ten minutes–not five–to walk to the nearest bus stop!

Before school begins, make a practice run to get children to the school on time.

If they’ll walk, help them learn the route they’ll take and note the needed time.

Car-pooling? Make sure the dry run accounts for early-morning traffic!

Bus riders will need to be familiar with the location of the bus stop; print and post the bus schedule to prevent a missed bus.

Spiff up household systems

A new school year quickens the tempo of family life. Sports activities, music lessons, church programs and volunteer commitments tap parental time and put new mileage on the mini-van. Get organized! Spiff up your household systems to meet autumn’s faster pace:

Clean house . fast! Take a stab at speed cleaning and whip through household chores in record time.

Cut time in the kitchen: create a menu plan and never again wonder “What’s for dinner?”

Streamline dinner preparations. Try a session of freezer cooking to stock the freezer with prepared entrees for stress-free dinner on sports night.

Conquer the paper pile-up. Set up a basic home filing system to track school paperwork, volunteer activities and household planning

Happy New School Year! Time to swing into a new school year–from an organized home.