Back to pencils, back to books . . . we are getting close to September, which is when our Madison students head back to class (September 5 and 6) with nary a “dirty look” from parents This means we have mere weeks to gear up for the routine ― the shopping, the adjustment in sleeping schedules and juggling transportation issues. Let’s take a look at some ways to prepare yourself and the kids for the annual ritual.

Ease into the new routine

Probably the hardest routine to change is sleep. Kids have been sleeping in every day for the past few months and having to now wake early, to the sound of an alarm, isn’t going to be easy. Ease them into it by starting the new routine a week or two before schools starts

In fact, if you aren’t one of us who has to rush out the door every morning, set the alarm clock and then go through the typical morning routine – you know, making lunches, eating breakfast and whatever else you normally do on a school morning. Do this for a week leading up to the first day of school and you’ll have the schedule nailed.

Take Advantage of Back-to-School Night/Open House

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary to look forward to for the wee ones just starting Kindergarten. The best way to meet the anxiety is head-on. If your child’s school doesn’t participate in back-to-school nights, call his or her teacher to set up a meet and greet.

A visit to the school may also help older students, making the transition from middle to high school. Help them find their lockers, their classrooms and, hopefully, meet some of their teachers.

Back-to-School Shopping Tips

When shopping for school clothes for older children, keep in mind that your child may change his or her mind completely after seeing what the other kids are wearing during the first week or two of school. Plan on buying a few outfits early and save the major shopping for after school begins. A bonus of this method is that come mid-September you’ll find some amazing sales. 

You’ll find lists of necessary school supplies on your child’s school website (find a master list for Madison schools online, here). This shopping trip affords an additional way to help your child get excited about school. Help the little ones understand how each item will be used.

Need help buying school supplies in Madison and Middleton?

Low-income Middleton Cross Plains School District parents and those on the west side of Madison (west of Midvale Blvd and north of the beltline) can get help stocking up on school supplies from MOM. Visit them on the web at

The Kids in Need Foundation is a nationwide program that offers assistance to parents who need help with school supplies for their children. Visit them on the web at

The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County is holding their annual Back2School event on Saturday, August 26 at Elver Park. From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. they’ll be giving away more than 2,500 backpacks with school supplies. You’ll also enjoy a basketball tournament, food and beverages and more.

They’re taking donations, by the way, on August 22 at 5 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club (1818 W. Beltline Hwy. in Madison). Find a list of what’s needed on the group’s Facebook page.

Although the transition from unlimited leisure time to the new school year is tough for the entire family, getting the school year off to a good start is important. It “can influence children’s attitude, confidence and performance, both socially and academically,” according to the National Association of School Psychologists’ Ted Feinberg and Katherine C. Cowan.




Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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