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Tips to ease transition from summer to school

Summer is winding down, and the routines we have during summer will change with the start of school next month.

Whether you have a first-timer worried about the lunch room, a nervous middle schooler anxious over a new locker combination or an experienced teenager who knows the drill, the transition to the responsibilities of school involves the entire family. Since preparation is the key, this guide will help with the shift in routine and, we hope, make the first day of school and the days that follow as carefree as the last day in June.

>>Back-to-School Checklist

>Two Weeks Before School Starts

*All students

Check prescriptions and school medical forms

Get extra medication (inhalers, analgesics) to keep at school

Look at school supply list from teacher, make final shopping trip

Talk about the school morning routine (who gets up when, etc.)

Give neighbor a house key, in case of a lock out (if power is out, automatic garage door openers may not work)

Keep summer clothes out and find the rain gear -- September can be hot and wet

Identify the "drop" zone at home (where backpacks, shoes, etc. can be dropped after school)

Identify the homework zone

Set up an information center in the kitchen for calendars, school schedule and phone numbers

Buy snacks for after school

Put stationery and envelopes for notes to school in a handy place

Update important phone numbers in your cell phone (school office, attendance, nurse)

*First-timers and elementary students

Practice saying your phone number, address and the bus number

*Middle Schoolers

Get your child an alarm clock -- and practice using it

Try on gym clothes and sneakers to make sure they fit

*High Schoolers

Finish those summer books

Secure transportation for high school sports practices

***

>One Week Before School Starts

*All students

Have end-of-summer fun -- last chance for a mini-vacation or day trip

Get kids to bed 15 minutes earlier each night, wake them up earlier each morning

Check what time the bus comes

If you pack lunches, get supplies (containers, bags, food, etc.)

Write days off from school on home and work calendars, arrange child care

Find out when teacher conferences are and confirm child care

Check school website for updates

Talk positively about what to expect from this school year

Find another parent you can call early mornings or late at night to check on school events

Devise an emergency plan for unexpected school closings, and make sure everyone knows what it is

Discuss goals for the year (read every night, make the honor roll, etc.)

Set up car pool with friends

*First-timers and elementary students

Practice eating lunch at home, opening juice boxes, what to throw away, etc.

Walk the route to the bus stop or school

Take supplies to school if allowed

*Middle Schoolers

Practice opening a combination lock at home

*High Schoolers

Finish book reports

***

>Night before

*All students

Lay out clothes and backpack

Pack lunch or set out cafeteria money

Check supplies and class schedule

Get to bed early!

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