My email inbox is flooded with pitches from “experts” who want to talk to me about how parents and children should prepare for the first day of school. With classes starting for many NEPA students next week, I turned to the expert I know best, my husband. Entering his 13th year of teaching fourth grade, here are Mr. Hall’s tips for getting off to the right start.

  • Start a bedtime routine at least a week or two before school starts. During the summer, later bedtimes and mornings of sleeping in are usually the norm. It’s often hard to go back to early bedtimes and early mornings in just a night or two.
  • Attend back-to-school nights or any open houses. If your child has a lot of anxiety about the first day, visit the school and meet the teacher before the school year begins.
  • Eat breakfast at home or at school. It’s hard to learn on an empty stomach.
  • It’s OK to be nervous (and excited). Your teachers are too.
  • For parents, be attentive to the papers your children bring home, especially during that first week. Create a place in your home where your child does homework.

My oldest daughter will start 4-year-old pre-k on the Tuesday after Labor Day. While she will still be at the same school, she’s already nervous about being in a different classroom.  What are some of your tips for getting ready for a new school year? Email me at