Going back to school can be a stressful and exciting time for students and parents. To ease the transition back into school, parents can use to following tips to make the change as smooth as possible.

Make your child's first day as easy as possible

  • About two weeks before school beings, start going to bed and getting up on the school schedule.
  • Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school.
  • Try to find another child in your area with whom your child can walk to school or ride with on the bus.
  • If you feel it is appropriate, drive your child or walk with your child to school and pick them up on the first day.

Review basic rules about traveling to and from school with your child

School Bus:

  • Before the school year starts, be sure to check bus routes and school start times for your child's school.
  • Choose a safe place to wait for the bus, away from traffic and the street.
  • Stay away from the bus until the driver gives you a signal that it's okay to approach.
  • Use the handrail to get on and off the bus.
  • Do not move around once on the bus.
  • Check for traffic before crossing the road.
  • Always remain in clear view of the bus driver.
  • If your child must cross in front of the bus after they've gotten off they must walk at least 10 big steps in front of it, so that the driver can see the child.

Bike:

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet and pads, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • Ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic.
  • Use appropriate hand signals.
  • Wear bright color clothing to increase visibility.

Walking to School:

  • Make sure your child's walk to a school is a safe route with adult crossing guards at every intersection.
  • Be realistic about your child's pedestrian skills. First consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
  • Bright colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

Pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of unintentional death among children ages five to 14. If your child walks to school, or to a bus stop, teach them these simple rules:

  • Look left, right, then left again before crossing the street.
  • Always try to cross a street when a crossing guard is present.
  • Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard, and never cross the street against a light, even if there is no traffic coming.
  • Walk with a buddy.

Before and After School Child Care

  • Make a master list of phone numbers along with doctors and emergency numbers. You are sure to need these several times.
  • During middle childhood, youngsters need supervision. A responsible adult should be available to get them ready and off to school in the morning and watch over them after school until you return home from work.
  • Children approaching adolescence (11 and 12-year-olds) should not come home to an empty house in the afternoon unless they show unusual maturity for their age.
  • If alternate adult supervision is not available, children should have a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone.
  • If you choose an after-school program, ask about the staff and their training.