In most areas, the kids are getting ready to head back to school, so we wanted to provide a few tips to make it easier to get back into the swing of things. If you are new to the area, you will need to get your children registered and learn expectations and operational details. If your children are already enrolled but will be heading back to school, you will still want to look at potential changes in bus stops, starting and ending times, and more.
Getting Your Children Enrolled in School
When you buy or rent a home in a different city, county, or state, you will need to enroll your children in their new school(s). Your Realtor may have provided you with a list of the schools serving your new address. If not, you can check with the county to learn which schools your children may attend. In Davidson County, call 336-249-8182; for Guilford County, click here.
Once you have determined the schools your children will attend, plan to make a visit during administration hours (these may differ during the summer, so call ahead) to enroll your child. Most schools will ask for copies of prior school records and immunization records. You can check current North Carolina requirements by visiting the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services website. Take your list of questions about the school. We recommend finding out when the school’s open house is scheduled and attend and tour the school with your child.
Considerations for Kids and Parents
- Shop ahead: Many schools now post their student supply lists by grade level online so you can purchase the majority of your child’s school supplies before classes begin. Check last year’s backpack to make sure it is in good condition. If it is still serviceable but you are buying new, consider donating gently used backpacks (and maybe even supplies) to the school or an area organization supporting kids in need. If your family cannot afford to purchase the supplies listed, organizations like Communities in Schools may be able to help.
- Understand the school rules: Is there a dress code or specific things your children can/can’t take to school? These rules may change from year to year, so make certain you know what is acceptable before shopping for back to school clothing.
- Review transportation options: Will your child walk to school? Ride the bus? Or will you carpool with nearby parents? If your child will walk to school, walk the route with him/her a few times ahead of the start of school. If your child will be riding the bus, make sure you have the most up-to-date schedule and bus stops, as these may shift to accommodate student geographies. If your child is new to bus riding, talk about what to expect and the behavior you expect from him/her. For drivers dropping children at school, watch for the proper drop-off and pick-up pattern and “rules.”
- After school: What happens after the school day ends? Will your younger child participate in an after school program? Perhaps your older child will work part-time. If they have not done this before, let them know what to expect. What are your house rules on homework and daily media usage? How many activities make sense for your child and your family? Are there volunteer activities that will interest your children? There should be a balance between school and activities. College bound high school students should consider the types of activities that may help them when applying to their schools of choice. Don’t forget, for kids who will participate in after-school sports, make sure your child gets a sports physical so they are ready to start playing.
- Get involved: It’s important for parents to be involved in their child’s education; it helps your kids understand you believe school is important. It also helps keep the lines of communication open between the teachers/administrators and parents. Get involved with the local PTA. And regardless of your child’s age, plan to attend back to school night and meet his/her teachers!
Tips to Make the First Day Easier
The first day of school can be exciting and stressful for kids, parents, and teachers alike. Start the process of shifting sleep schedules two weeks out, with quiet time before bed each night. The night before school begins, give your kids the responsibility of laying out their clothes and supplies (with your guidance) and have them help make their lunches and put them in the fridge. Make sure to leave extra time – it always seems like traffic on the first day is miserable! Remember to watch for stopped school buses every day – and know when it’s acceptable to pass a bus loading/unloading children. Oh, and don’t forget to take the obligatory “first day of school” photo each year to snapshot their school career. Stay safe!