9 Things to Do BEFORE School Starts!

Hey Parents! A successful school year begins before the first day of school. Don’t stress! We have you covered with these 9 simple steps:

1-“Walk-through” the school.

Especially, if this is a new school! Locate their classroom and make notes about the seating arrangement. If your kid goes to several different teachers during the day: walk their entire schedule with them. Noting the arrangement and “feel” for each class. It is suggested to do these things even if it is not a new school because it will at least be new teachers and classrooms.


  • Classrooms & homeroom
  • Bathrooms & Lockers 
  • Gym & Cafeteria
  • Nurse’s Office 

2-Review your child’s IEP/504 Plan.

While performing #1 is a great time to request, or have a meeting about your children’s current accommodations. Figure out what has been working well and identify areas that still need improvement. The accommodations they receive will need to reflect the challenges they will face this school year.


  • Report cards, interim/progress reports
  • Notes from the teacher, disciplinarian, or principal 
  • Tests and Standardized Scores
  • Goals for this year

3-Get & Stay Organized.

By now, you probably know that organization is key! While it is a little extra work getting everything set up, you will be really glad you did. Recalling your children’s biggest organizational challenges, come up with solutions before school starts. Get them hooked on a calendar system, by noting due dates for homework, class projects and other assignments. Figure out a system (#4 has tips) your children will be able to manage at school and home. If they have a locker, get a locker shelf to arrange their books in order of schedule. Don’t wait until the last minute to get school supplies. The best reason of all… according to Time Magazine school supplies are cheaper when purchased before school starts! (With the exception of computers, laptops and tablets, September is the best time to buy those large ticket items.)

  • PRO TIP: Most states have a tax-free weekend in August, saving you between 3-10% right off the bat. Add that to some killer sales and you’re in business. Louisiana’s Tax Free Dates 2017.
  • SUPER SAVER TIP: Reuse folders, notebooks and other supplies from last year. Have your kids decorate them, or label over old writing. Check out yard sales, or the dollar store for many of the supplies your kids need.


Binder Labels




pocket, calendar, school, year, homework, reminders, projects

Pentel, All-In-One, Writing, Value, Starter Pack, 12 Piece Kit (BKPDSLZBP12), pens, pencils, student

water resistant, backpack, USB charging, book bag

4-Design a landing/launch pad.

A landing pad is a designated area for your kids to neatly drop their keys, books, bags, sports equipment, projects, assignments, homework and anything else they have when they walk in from school. After a quick snack, get cranking on homework, then, prep. Viola! It transforms into a launch pad! If they get in the habit of setting it up the night before, mornings will be a cinch! The location should be near the door without blocking it. To keep it neat and orderly you might need bins, cubbies, mini lockers, or shelves dedicated to each kid.Closet maid cubby

5-Plan After-school activities

Scheduling exercise, even if it is just around the neighborhood, is a great way for your kids to run out some of that energy, and gain focus and discipline. Studies prove that martial arts, checkers/chess clubs, and sports can improve academic performance
Tae Kwon Do is highly recommended for its unique disciplinary and defensive approach. Or check into these New Orleans After-school activities.

Sports and Clubs
6-Secure a tutor

Waiting until school starts is often too late to secure a good tutor. Ideally, you have been working with your kids to get ahead, or stay on task with challenging subjects this summer. If not, no harm done. The idea is to keep them ahead during the school year by giving them one-on-one tutoring in their toughest subject. Some schools can provide this but if not, here are some New Orleans tutorsAngry birdAngry bird

  • PRO TIP: Combine 5 & 6 to kill 2 (angry) birds with 1 stone!

7-Make a Family Calendar

Making a universally accessible Family Calendar can save a lot of time and headaches. It prevents mix-ups, overbooking, and missed appointments, or deadlines. Ideally, get a white board with room for everyone to add their individual schedules. This gives your children (and you) a sense of control over your lives. The more you involve them in creating the calendar, the more likely they (and you) are to adhere to it.White Board, Calendar, fridge, magnet, markers

8-Review your Kids’ Meds

Did you opt for a drug holiday this summer? If so, make sure you have medication(s) on hand to start a week, or 2 before school starts. This ensures they are still on the adequate dosage(s) and not going through initial side effects their first week back. If you kept their medications going, make sure they have an appointment with their doctor a few weeks before school starts. It can be a busy time so do not wait to make that appointment because you might not get in soon enough!


9-Set Goals Together

Sit down with your kids, let them talk about school and just listen. Extract what they want from school, not just what you want. Give them prompts like, “I would like to learn…” “I want to do better in…” “I want to continue doing well in…” “I am most worried about…” This can allow you to gain their perspective and work towards goals that are measurable and attainable. For children with mental health issues, setting and achieving goals is tantamount to their continued success in school and beyond. Click on the picture below for some examples. Smart Goals







*While it is not my goal to make money on this blog, I have recently “monetized” it using Amazon Associate links. It is minimal I assure you. More importantly, the links I have provided is from tons of research and combing through websites to provide you with the most up-to-date, inexpensive, and practical information and tools to make life (having a child with a mental disorder) easier.


About medicalpsych

Dr. Jon Chandler is a Licensed Medical (Prescribing) Psychologist serving the Greater New Orleans, Louisiana area.

Posted on August 2, 2017, in ADHD, children, Diversity, Multicultural, ODD, psychiatry, psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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