Summer is sublime, but for frazzled parents of rambunctious school-age kids, September may be starting to look like an oasis of calm. Planning and preparing now can ease the turbulence of back to school. Here are some things you can do to get ready for the transition.

Medical – Check the child’s records for a vaccination form, date of last physical, and other info your school district requires. If the child is new to your home, consider scheduling a “getting to know you” appointment with your doctor.

Paperwork – Make sure you have the name, address and phone number of the last school the child attended, plus other required information. Your neighborhood school staff is likely in the office this month and eager to guide you.

Education plans – Ask your child’s caseworker what, if any, education plans or services the child had before. Confirm that the school registrar and counselor have what they need for the child.

Lifesaver card – Write up a small card with essential info the child may not yet have memorized, like your address and phone number, his bus number, the name and number of a helpful relative or neighbor in case of emergency. Make a couple of copies and give him one for his backpack and one for his pocket. Laminate the cards if he has memory or attention problems and might need to carry them around a while. If he tends to lose things, pin one to the inside of his backpack, but make sure it is not visible to others (for safety).

Take a tour – If the child is bussing, biking, or walking to school, practice the route until he is comfortable. Tour the school. Visit the classroom. Play on the playground. Practice opening his locker.

Meet ‘n’ greet – Attend open houses and orientations. Talk with the teacher and school secretaries so they know the child and have a general idea of his strengths and challenges. If he’s willing, have the child do the talking.

Prepare his story – Help the child come up with a way to describe his living situation that he is comfortable with. He needs to know that his story is private and he has a right to keep unpleasant details from other children.

The class Working with Schools has more information about working with school staff, advocating for your child, special education, roles and responsibilities, and more.

This article is reprinted from the "Connections."

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Siegle is the writer and editor for Northwest Media, Inc., parent company of, and