Prepare kids for change in fall of year

Children behave best when they know what to expect and have practiced what to say. Children feel more comfortable in social situations like the first days of school if they have practiced the words needed express their feeling and needs.

Visit the school, their room, and playground together.Where will coats, lunch, and book bags be placed? Where is the bathroom?

Discussing and role-playing some of the tips below can be fun for the whole family, as long as, everything is kept light. The goal is to help, not create more anxiety.

Have a plan

Experts suggest young children need 10 to 12 hours of sleep each night. Plan a healthy breakfast together and send a nutritious snack for mid morning. If children aren’t hungry when they first wake up, give them some water or milk and bag of nutritious cereal, toast, and cheese to munch. This helps reduce a midmorning grouchy sugar low.

How much time is needed to dress before breakfast and travel to school? Begin adjusting bedtimes to approximate the new schedule. Have several trial runs and add 10 minutes.

Choose and set out clothes, backpack with notes and assignments, shoes, and weather appropriate outerwear the night before to avoid morning rush and family stress.

Practice saying something nice to send the family on their way each morning. Attitude is important. Say “hi” with a smile to the bus or carpool driver and others.

At school hang up clothing and follow other school and classroom procedures. Walk and use an “indoor” school voice and open doors for adults and others. When adults use a signal to get attention, be quiet immediately and ready for instructions.

Practice courtesy

There are many opportunities to be kind, courteous, and helpful. It is OK to let someone else go first in line or the drinking fountain if you are there at the same time. When you make a mess, clean it up. If someone else makes a mess, help them clean up. If someone drops something, help pick it up. Place trash in the trashcan in and out of school.

Welcome others to join your group at recess or any other time. Welcome someone who is new to the school. Talk to another child who looks sad and ask, “Are you OK?” If there is something dangerous or hurtful tell an adult in charge.

Use the words “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.” Close the bathroom door, flush the toilet, wash hands, dry, and place the towel in the trash. If your stomach hurts, tell the teacher.

At the end of the school day place all notes and papers in your backpack and be ready to share them with your family.

For more early learning tips see and for pod casts and live schedule of “Learning Through the Seasons.”

Editor’s note: Grandparents Teach ,Too is a non profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. Writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers.Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan (PAM), Upper Peninsula Association for the Education of Young Children (UPAEYC), Northern Michigan School of Education, U.P. Children’s Museum, and NMU Center for Economic Education.