Here are 10 tips for getting your family what it needs for the big day.
1. Stock up on school supply essentials. Nina Esposito-Visgitis, President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, recommends buying basic supplies before the first day of school. Here are the priorities she lists: pencils (regular and colored), pens, magic markers, loose-leaf paper, spiral notebooks, pocket folders, binders, a hole punch, glue, and construction paper.
2. Now is a good time for your children to make a list of books they read during the last few months and bring it into school, so they can tell their teachers how they kept their reading skills sharp during the summer.
3. Go shopping for any clothes or accessories your kids may still need.
4. Purchase a durable backpack. Cheaper backpacks are usually flimsy and rip easily, Esposito-Visgitis points out. “Make sure that they are sturdy, with straps in order to protect the student’s shoulders and backs, as backpacks can get heavy.”
5. Move back bedtime. Transition the kids to their school-year bedtime.
6. Organize the family calendar. Know what you're doing and when by organizing your after-school activities, drop-off, pick-up and child-care plans, Esposito-Visgitis says.
7. Mark your student’s flash drive. Buy a light-colored flash drive and write the student's initials on it with a marker, or put a sticker on it, Esposito-Visgitis says.
8. Review your district's technology guidelines. Before purchasing electronics for your student, including a cellphone or laptop, check your district's "technology use" policies, says Dru Tromlin, Director of Middle Level Services for the Association of Middle Level Education.
“All school systems have 'technology use' policies to which you need to adhere,” Tromlin says. “Therefore, check for the system policy and then check with your school to see how the policy actually works there. Get informed and make the right choice.”
9. Help support your student’s organizational skills. “Planners and notebooks play a vital role in your child's daily middle school life,” Tromlin says. “Most schools either provide or sell student agendas or planners, and they are the single most important tool for school-to-home communication. Thus, when you get one for your child, talk to him/her about what you expect to be written every day, how often you will be checking it, and what reward they will earn if everything is filled in properly — and then follow through with that plan."10. Now is a good time to check school websites to see if teachers have posted any requirements for specific school supplies or any other valuable information for starting the year off right. If there are no lists online or in the mail, when your children return to school, they should ask their teachers if there are any supplies they need beyond what has already been purchased, including “big ticket” items such as calculators, Tromlin advises. “Many parents ask about the kind of calculator they need to buy for their child,” he says. “My best advice: Save yourself time and money and ask the teacher.”