Back to school

School bells will be ringing soon and the short summer will be over. Students and parents will have to get back on a routine as the ritual returns. Here are the start dates for area schools. Check with your school for times and new schedules.
 • Alex Public Schools – August 10
 • Anadarko Public Schools – August 12 (Enrollment Aug 4) 
 • Chickasha Public Schools – August 12
 • Ninnekah Public Schools – August 12
 • Verden Public Schools – August 12
 • Rush Springs Pubic Schools – August 14
 • Amber Pocasset Public Schools – August 18
Tips to Help Your Students Get Ready to Go Back to School
• Establish a bedtime.
 During the summer, most kids go to bed later than usual. This can make it hard for them to adjust when school starts up again. A couple of weeks before school begins, establish a “school bedtime” with your children. Then you can slowly work on getting closer to that bedtime in increments of 15 minutes each night until the first day of school. It’s also a good idea to apply this routine to your children’s waking time so the morning of their first day of school isn’t a shock.
• Get into a homework routine.
 Before school starts, help your children get into a routine of completing their homework. First, designate a specific electronic-free place in your home where they will complete their assignments. Then set aside some time each day for your children to engage in an academic activity they enjoy, such as flash cards, writing, or reading. (This might only be a few minutes for young children). Having this routine in place early on will ease the transition to real homework.
• Designate a place where your kids will keep their school things.
 Decide now where your children will drop off their backpacks, lunchboxes, shoes, and jackets when they walk in the door after school. This will minimize the chaos of running around and looking for their school things every morning. Physically walk your children through dropping off their things the week before school starts so they know exactly what to do when they get home from their first day.
• Sort through old clothing and get a few new items.
 The beginning of a new school year is the perfect time to help your children decide what clothing still fits and what doesn’t. It’s also the perfect time to stock up on essential wardrobe items like shoes, socks, pants, and T-shirts. You don’t need to break the bank, but having a few new items will reduce stress. You won’t need to spend every morning rifling through their closets for something your kids can wear. Thrift stores can be a great place to find a few new wardrobe items, and while you’re shopping, you can also donate clothes that don’t fit anymore. Be sure to check with your local school dress code before making purchases.
• Stock up on essential school supplies.
 It’s also a good idea to send your children with a few essential school supplies on their first day. This will help them feel prepared and ready. Items like a backpack, lunchbox, notebook, pencils, and erasers make great first-day-of-school companions. For elementary students especially, hold off on purchasing anything else until their teacher sends home a precise list of needed items. Most schools have lists of supplies posted on their district website.
• Talk about electronics.
 Consider your rules for electronic use during the school year and discuss them with your children. Will they be able to watch TV while doing homework? Can they take their phones to their rooms at bedtime? What about using electronics during school? Find out your local school rules for personal electronic devices and prepare your child to follow them.
• Practice lunchtime routines.
 Especially for younger elementary children, lunchtime practice is essential. A week or more before school begins practice with your children eating lunch from their school lunch pack. Can they open everything? Do they know what items to keep and bring back home? Have you discuss trading lunch items and whether you will permit that? Do they know that there is a limited time for eating and have they practiced finishing their food and remaining at the table for the designated amount of time?
 Just a few days of preparation as you enjoy the last days of summer can help your student have a positive back to school experience.