SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Back to School Tips

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For some children, getting ready for school means jazzy new sneakers, a colorful backpack, and a cool lunch box. For parents, it may be setting a morning routine, shopping for those new sneakers, or locating a bus stop.

August is a time of transition from the less structured days of summer vacation, to the very structured routine of the school year. Here are three simple tips and strategies to help your child ease the transition from summer to school:

  • The relaxed summer schedule often means that a child stays up later than normal. We all know that a good night’s sleep is critical for school success. Try this: Two weeks before the start of school, start putting your child to bed ten minutes earlier each night, and get him or her up ten minutes earlier each morning. By the first day of school your child will be rested and ready to go.
  • To help your child get ready for the "morning rush," try color-coding bureau drawers. Socks in the "red" drawer, shirts in the "yellow" drawer, etc. You can use small colored stickers or pieces of construction paper. Color-code the closet as well. Hang all "pinks" together, all "blues," etc. This is an easy and fast way for a child to find their clothes.
  • If your child has a tendency to misplace things (e.g. sneakers), try tracing and cutting out the outline of their sneakers on construction or contact paper. Then place the tracing on the closet floor. Each night make sure the shoes are sitting on their "feet" in the closet. (The same can be done for lunchboxes, backpacks, books, etc.)

Next week I’ll share some more "tried and true" tips and suggestions to help ease the summer-to-school transition!


#1 Victoria Cummings 2010-08-05 20:15
Love the tips! You are so right on the sleep issue. It is best to start early and gear "down" to an earlier bedtime. I'll remember this to share with other mothers.
The organization tips are good too. Most children do struggle with find items, especially in the mornings when everyone is sleepy.

I look forward to seeing what other tips you have to offer.

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?