1.Begin preparing your child a few weeks before the big day (sooner, if this is his or her first school experience or a new school). If your household has relaxed bedtime and morning routines over the summer months, start to wake your child a little earlier each morning, and move bedtime up 15 minutes every few nights to re-establish "school hours."
2.Plan a "back-to-school" shopping day with each child individually, and make it a special event. Of course, you'll set (and try to stick to) a general budget, but leave some room for one or two small extravagances (reuse last year's backpack, but buy this year's hottest cartoon-character notebook).
3.Before the big clothes-shopping trip, spend some time with each child sorting through last year's things and decide together what goes into which pile (keeper, hand-me-down or donate). Insist that your child try on every keeper.
4.For a new year in a new school, plan a visit there a week or so before the first day. Walk through the building locating the classrooms, bathrooms and lunchroom.
5.If your child will be riding the bus, find out the route he or she will take and drive it together a few times there and back. If he or she is a walker, plan the route and walk it together both ways.
6.Help your child deal with first-day jitters by focusing on some special advantage of, for example, being a fourth-grader. Perhaps your child is now old enough for his or her own house key, an increase in allowance or some other new privilege.
7.Celebrate the big day. Go out for dinner or plan a special meal the night before, or present your child with a small gift.
Overall Tips: Unless your child's school sends out a detailed list of required supplies for his or her specific grade and classes, it's best to buy just the general stuff in August. Middle school and high school teachers in particular are likely to provide lists of exactly what your child will need for each subject area a few days into the new school year.
Don't wait too long to schedule that back-to-school shopping trip. By mid-August, local sources may be sold out of hot items. Do you want to deal with that kind of disappointment?
Review important safety rules with your child such as using established walking routes to and from school, what to do if approached by a stranger, what to do if he or she misses the bus or loses the house key.