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Back-to-School Checklist

Here are ways for you and your child to get in the back-to-school mindset and cope with any anxieties or big feelings.

New Space

  • For young children, forecast step-by-step how the day will go so they get a sense of what to expect.
  • Go to the schoolyard and play a few times before the first day of school.
  • If you are learning from home this year, fun printables add a personal touch to your child’s learning area.


  • Telling our kids that we see what they’re feeling will help them feel validated and supported. Give them space to let your child share their fears and talk about what’s on their mind.
  • Establish bedtimes and your morning routine early for the school year.

School Supplies

  • Practice using a new lunch box backpack zippers, using buttons, and tying shoes. A busy board can be good practice for these skills.
  • Ask your child to help choose the outfits for the first week of school. Together with your child, pack the backpack, so they know what is inside.

Friends & Teachers

  • Talk about shared likes and interests, e.g., “I heard Mrs. Johnson loves reading books about animals, and you do too! I wonder if she likes trains too?”
  • If you have time: Can you set up playdates with kids in their class over the summer?

Once School Starts

  • Paint a mental picture for your child of what to expect and remind them about the fun things happening at school that day.
  • Add a positive affirmation in a child’s lunch to ease separation anxiety.
  • If your child is nervous, here are a few things you can do:
    • Give your child an item of yours to hold for the day. Make it a crafty project by making matching bracelets.
    • Focus your child’s attention on the reconnection after school. “After school, let’s sit on the hammock together, and you can tell me the three most fun things you did at school today. I can’t wait to hear!”
    • Praise your child for brave behavior. You might plan a fun meal at the end of the first day of the week.

The New Normal

  • Visit the pediatrician. Make sure your child is up-to-date with all recommended vaccines. Review and practice proper hand hygiene at home, especially before and after eating, sneezing, coughing, and adjusting a mask. Make handwashing fun and explain to your child why it’s essential.
  • Be familiar with how your school will make water available during the day. Consider packing a water bottle.
  • Talk to your child about the precautions that their school is taking this year. Children may be advised to wash and sanitize their hands more often, keep physical distance from other students, and use hand sanitizer.

Find your schools Academic Calendar below:

For a full list of Texas 2021 – 2022 Academic Calendars click here.


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