10 Back To School Tips

Written by Dan

Last updated

Preparing for going back to school can be a daunting task for both parents and children. The start of a new school year brings a mix of excitement and anxiety as families strive to get ready for the changes and demands it entails.

A desk with school supplies neatly arranged, a backpack packed with books, a calendar with important dates circled, a healthy lunchbox, a set of new clothes laid out, a full water bottle, a clock showing the morning hour, a to-do

Understanding what steps to take to get back into the school routine can make the transition smoother and less stressful. By planning ahead, gathering necessary supplies, and setting up effective routines, everyone can look forward to a successful and enjoyable school year.

1) Create a Study Schedule

Creating a study schedule is an essential step in preparing for going back to school. It helps students manage their time efficiently and ensures that all subjects receive adequate attention.

Start by evaluating your current study habits. Consider which times of the day you feel most productive. Some people prefer studying in the morning, while others are night owls.

Next, block out dedicated study times in your weekly timetable. Make sure to include short breaks to rest and recharge. This approach helps maintain focus and prevents burnout.

Set specific, measurable goals for each study session. For instance, aim to complete a chapter or work through a set number of practice problems. This keeps study sessions productive and on track.

Incorporate flexibility into your schedule. Life can be unpredictable, and having some wiggle room allows for any last-minute changes. A rigid schedule can often lead to stress and reduced productivity.

Additionally, find a study partner to stay accountable. This can enhance motivation and provide a support system. Regularly reviewing your schedule and making necessary adjustments is crucial for sustained success.

Online tools such as My Study Life can assist in organizing your timetable effectively. Utilizing these tools can streamline the process and ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Remaining consistent with your schedule is key. Consistency helps develop a routine, making studying a natural part of the day rather than a chore. Creating a realistic and flexible study schedule can significantly impact academic performance.

2) Organize School Supplies

A desk with neatly arranged school supplies in 10 different ways, including notebooks, pencils, rulers, and backpacks

Start with a list of all necessary supplies. For elementary school children, gather items like crayons, markers, glue sticks, and hand sanitizers. Middle and high school students will need notebooks, pens, pencils, and calculators.

Use a rotating caddy to keep supplies organized. Assign each compartment to a different type of item. This way, everything has a designated place.

For ease of access, consider clear plastic bins. Label each bin by category—such as snacks, fruits, veggies, and proteins. This approach can extend to school supplies, with bins for pens, paper, and art materials.

A wall organizer is another great tool. It can hold school forms, doctors’ notes, and important reminders. A stylish wall organizer can also serve as a focal point in the entryway.

An electric pencil sharpener, extra erasers, and a paper tray with both lined and unlined paper are essential. They ensure that every student is well-prepared for the school year. Keeping these items in a designated area can reduce morning rush and stress.

Lastly, color coding can help maintain order. Use different color markers or chalk for each family member. Post a schedule in a common area so everyone knows where to find their supplies quickly.

Prepare for school by keeping supplies in specific, organized spots. This saves time and keeps the clutter at bay.

3) Review Last Year’s Notes

A desk cluttered with open notebooks, pens, and a laptop. A calendar on the wall with the date circled. A stack of textbooks and a backpack ready to be filled

Taking time to review last year’s notes can be beneficial. Revisiting these materials helps to refresh the memory and solidify understanding of key concepts.

By going over past notes, students can identify areas of strength and weakness. This allows them to focus their efforts more effectively in the upcoming school year.

Another advantage is the opportunity to build on previously learned material. Reviewing notes helps to create a strong foundation for new topics.

Organizing these notes can also be helpful. Creating summaries or outlines based on last year’s learnings can make it easier to refer back to important information when needed.

Revisiting old notes can boost confidence. It reminds students of the knowledge they have already accumulated, making new challenges feel more manageable. Regularly reviewing notes can reinforce learning, making it easier to recall information for future assignments and exams.

According to the University of the People, reflecting on past performance is key in setting yourself up for success in the new term. This same habit is crucial for academic progress and sustained learning.

Additionally, integrating insights from other resources, like tips from the University of the People, can enhance the process. This proactive approach ensures students are well-prepared for the new academic year.

4) Buy a Planner

Investing in a planner is a key step in staying organized during the school year. It allows students to track their assignments, deadlines, and extracurricular activities. A well-maintained planner can help reduce stress by ensuring that important dates are not overlooked.

There are various planners available to suit different preferences and needs. For instance, the 2023-2024 Weekly/Monthly Academic Planner offers ample space for notes and schedules, making it ideal for both high school and college students.

For those who prefer a more creative approach, options like Amy Knapp’s The Very Busy Planner provide a blend of functionality and inspiration. These planners not only keep you organized but also encourage self-expression and goal setting.

Selecting a planner with a design that appeals to you can make the process enjoyable. Beautifully designed planners, as highlighted in the list of prettiest back-to-school planners, can motivate daily use.

Planners, especially ones with structured layouts, can help form effective daily and weekly routines. This consistency is crucial for time management and efficiency. Making a habit of updating the planner regularly ensures that it remains an effective tool throughout the school year.

5) Set Goals for the Year

Setting goals for the new school year can help students stay focused and motivated. Clear objectives provide a roadmap for success and allow students to measure their progress.

Start by reflecting on past achievements and challenges. This can help identify strengths to build on and areas that need improvement.

Students should take ownership of their goals. Encourage them to set both academic and personal milestones. This can include improving grades, participating in extracurricular activities, or developing new skills.

A well-defined goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). For example, instead of aiming to “do better in math,” a SMART goal might be to “raise my math grade from a B to an A by the end of the semester.”

Visual reminders of goals can keep students motivated. Creating a goal poster or setting reminders on their devices can help keep them on track.

It’s also important to regularly review and adjust goals as needed. Circumstances can change, and goals may need to be updated to remain relevant and achievable.

For additional tips on setting goals, consider resources like Verywell Family which provide more detailed guidance.

6) Join a Study Group

Joining a study group can significantly enhance academic performance. Study groups allow students to discuss topics in detail and gain multiple perspectives.

An effective study group should have like-minded members who are committed to achieving good grades. Each member should be focused and contribute actively to the discussions.

The group should ideally consist of 3 to 4 students to ensure everyone can participate. Meetings can last from 1 to 3 hours, providing ample time to cover material without feeling rushed. It is recommended to meet regularly, potentially on the same day each week to keep the schedule consistent. This approach treats study sessions like regular classes, which helps maintain discipline and routine.

Choosing a distraction-free environment is crucial for productivity. A quiet place with enough space to spread out materials ensures everyone can focus on the task at hand.

Active engagement with the material is key. Members should prepare in advance, bringing questions and topics to discuss. This practice fosters a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Overall, a well-organized study group can be a valuable tool for anyone preparing to go back to school. Members benefit from shared knowledge, different viewpoints, and mutual support. For more guidance on forming successful study groups, you can refer to this detailed guide.

7) Update Your Wardrobe

Updating your wardrobe for the new school year can boost confidence and help you feel prepared for the year ahead. Start by clearing out your closet. Identify items that no longer fit or are rarely worn and make space for new pieces.

Focus on basics first. Essentials like a good pair of jeans, neutral-colored sweaters, and comfortable shoes are key. These items form the foundation of any outfit and offer versatility.

Don’t forget to take advantage of back-to-school sales. This is a great opportunity to pick up high-quality items at a discounted price. Look for deals on essentials and trendy pieces to keep your wardrobe current without breaking the bank.

Hoodies are a practical addition to a back-to-school wardrobe. They’re easy to layer and useful for various weather conditions. Consider having a few in different colors for different outfits.

If you’re into current trends, check out styles like zebra print or double denim. These trendy items can add a fun twist to your wardrobe. The Refinery29 guide on back-to-school outfits offers inspiration on how to incorporate these trends.

Updating your wardrobe doesn’t mean purchasing everything new. Mix and match old favorites with new pieces for a refreshing look.

8) Practice Time Management

A desk with a planner, textbooks, and school supplies. A clock on the wall shows the time. A backpack is packed and ready to go

Effective time management is crucial for success. One popular method is the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break. These intervals help maintain focus and reduce burnout.

Using a planner or digital calendar can help in organizing tasks. It allows students to prioritize and allocate time effectively across different activities.

Time blocking is another strategy to consider. It involves dividing the day into specific chunks of time dedicated to certain tasks. This method reduces the temptation to multitask and increases productivity by focusing on one thing at a time.

Creating a personalized schedule is essential. Each student’s day is unique, so a tailored plan ensures that all commitments, such as classes, study sessions, and extracurricular activities, are accounted for.

Tracking how time is spent is another valuable practice. By gaining awareness of how much time is dedicated to certain tasks, students can identify and break time-wasting habits.

Developing healthy habits also supports effective time management. This includes setting clear goals, maintaining a consistent routine, and allowing time for self-care.

Finally, making a plan at the beginning of the week can help organize priorities. Having a clear overview of tasks and deadlines ensures that everything gets done on time without unnecessary stress.

9) Read Assigned Books

Reading assigned books before the school year starts can lay a strong foundation. It helps students get familiar with the material and understand the themes and concepts that will be covered.

Books like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Great Gatsby” often appear on high school reading lists. These classics can provide historical and cultural context, enriching the classroom discussions.

For younger students, picture books can ease anxieties. Titles such as “The Circles All Around Us” emphasize themes of friendship and inclusion, preparing students for social interactions at school.

Some schools provide summer reading lists to keep students engaged. Parents can encourage this practice by setting aside daily reading time. Websites like Scholastic offer book recommendations tailored to different grade levels.

Reading also sharpens comprehension skills. Books such as “Ready, Freddy! #2: The King of Show-and-Tell” can make learning fun and relatable for young readers. This type of engaging content helps break down complex ideas into manageable chunks.

For older students, novels like “Eleanor & Park” can offer relatable stories and characters. Reading these books early allows students to dive deeper into classroom discussions and assignments.

10) Prepare Lunches in Advance

Preparing lunches ahead of time can save valuable minutes during busy school mornings. Freezing meals that defrost well can be especially effective. Simple options like sandwiches, wraps, and pasta salads can be made in bulk and stored for the week.

Chop vegetables the night before. Bell pepper strips, celery sticks, and grape tomatoes can be stored in airtight containers for freshness.

Dipping sliced apples in salt water helps them stay crisp and prevents browning.

Adding snacks such as pretzels, nuts, or yogurt to each lunchbox ensures a balanced meal. Opting for foods that freeze well, such as homemade muffins, can also speed up the morning routine.

For practical, make-ahead lunch ideas, consider recipes for prepping, packing, and snacking to streamline the process.

Also, using a meal plan, such as this 5-day lunch guide, can reduce daily stress. Making lunches in advance ensures kids have nutritious meals without the rush.

Creating A Productive Study Space

To enhance productivity for back-to-school preparation, a well-organized desk and appropriate lighting are critical. These elements ensure that the study environment promotes focus and comfort.

Organizing Your Desk

A clutter-free desk is essential for efficiency. Begin by selecting a desk that offers ample space for your study materials. Desks with built-in storage, such as drawers or shelves, help keep books, notebooks, and stationery within reach but out of sight.

Using organizers, such as clear bins or drawer dividers, can keep small items like pens, paperclips, and sticky notes neatly arranged. Labeling these organizers can further streamline your study sessions.

Ensure that the desk surface remains clear of unnecessary items. Only keep what is essential for your current task to minimize distractions. Personal touches, like a small plant or a photo, can make the space inviting without creating clutter.

Additionally, investing in an ergonomic chair supports good posture and reduces back strain during long study sessions. Make sure it offers adjustable height and adequate lumbar support.

Choosing The Right Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in maintaining concentration and reducing eye strain. Natural light is ideal; placing your desk near a window can enhance mood and keep you alert. If natural light is limited, a high-quality desk lamp with adjustable brightness is a must.

LED lamps are energy-efficient and often allow for dimming, which can tailor the lighting to different times of the day or specific tasks. Look for lamps that offer a range of color temperatures, from warm to cool light, to suit your needs.

It’s also wise to incorporate ambient lighting within the room. Overhead lights or wall-mounted fixtures can provide overall illumination, preventing harsh contrasts between the desk area and the rest of the room.

For detailed work, an additional task light with a flexible neck can direct light precisely where needed. This focused lighting helps reduce eye fatigue and improves concentration on critical tasks.

Establishing A Routine

A desk with neatly organized school supplies, a backpack packed with books, a calendar marked with important dates, a morning alarm set, a healthy breakfast on the table, and a uniform or outfit laid out for the next day

To smoothly transition back to school, focusing on sleep and study schedules is essential for maintaining balance and success.

Setting A Sleep Schedule

Re-establishing a consistent sleep schedule is crucial. Start by adjusting bedtime gradually. Push it back by 15-minute increments each night until the desired time is reached. This method prevents jarring shifts and helps the body adapt.

Ensure the wake-up time allows for about 8-10 hours of sleep to support cognitive function and overall well-being. Encourage relaxing activities before bed such as reading or taking a warm bath to signal the body that it is time to wind down.

Limiting screen time in the hour before bed can also improve sleep quality. Devices emit blue light, which can interfere with the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep.

Planning Study Times

Define specific times for homework and study sessions to foster a sense of structure and discipline. Aim for sessions that match the child’s attention span, typically between 30-45 minutes, followed by a short break to rest and recharge.

Use tools like planners or digital calendars to allocate study periods in relation to after-school activities. Balance is key; avoid overloading the schedule to prevent burnout.

Creating a designated, distraction-free study space can enhance focus. This area should be quiet, well-lit, and stocked with necessary supplies. Encouraging regular review sessions ahead of exams can help reinforce learning and reduce last-minute cramming.

Engage with teachers to understand any additional academic expectations or adjustments needed, particularly if transitioning to a new grade or school. Open communication ensures that study plans align with school requirements and support the child’s academic goals.

Mental And Emotional Preparation

A desk with school supplies neatly arranged, a calendar marked with important dates, a backpack ready to be filled, and a book open to a page of notes

Preparing a child mentally and emotionally for the new school year involves managing anxiety and staying motivated. These strategies can significantly ease their transition and help them succeed.

Managing Back-To-School Anxiety

Addressing back-to-school anxiety is essential for a smooth transition. Begin by acknowledging your child’s feelings. Parents should be open about their own stress, modeling healthy stress management techniques, as detailed by UNICEF.

Creating a balanced routine helps children feel secure. Ensure they get adequate sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise, which play crucial roles in their overall well-being, as emphasized by The Florida Center. Encouraging children to participate in enjoyable activities can also reduce stress. Games and laughter can decrease anxiety by reducing stress hormones, as noted by Psychology Today.

Staying Motivated

Maintaining motivation throughout the school year is key to academic success. Celebrating small victories can boost a child’s confidence and encourage continued effort. Parents should set realistic, achievable goals and provide positive reinforcement.

Furthermore, engage in regular discussions about school experiences. This ensures that children feel supported and understood. Involving children in planning their academic tasks and extracurricular activities can increase their sense of control and motivation. Also, professional support from counselors or therapists can help address complex emotions, aiding in sustaining motivation, as highlighted by Everyday Health.

Creating a motivational environment at home can make a significant difference. Highlight the importance of curiosity and learning, and encourage a growth mindset, where effort and progress are valued over innate ability.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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