September 23, 2022

Back-to-school can be an exciting time for children in Canada. For parents, it’s often a time with a few added responsibilities to ensure that their children are ready to learn. With this in mind, we wanted to offer some back-to-school tips for newcomer parents. 

Check with Their School for Essential Items 

One of the time-honored traditions is back-to-school shopping. Different schools and grade levels will require students to be prepared with specific items. Be sure to check in with your children’s school to find out exactly what is needed. Many schools will provide parents with a list of required items. You should also check to see if you will need to provide lunch or any specialized clothing.  

Update Your Child’s School on Medical Conditions 

An important aspect of preparation for many parents is ensuring that the school has sufficient information about medical conditions and needs. If your child has any specific needs, such as specific medication to take or severe allergies, work with your school’s administration to help ensure that they are prepared should your child experience an urgent medical need during the school day.  

Label Your Child’s Belongings  

Children tend to misplace items from time to time. Even if you have a very organized kid, it helps to label your child’s belongings as it will make it easier for your child to keep them organized and for teachers to identify them. Using stickers or even a label maker is an effective way to do this. A little extra effort can help reduce your need to replace lost items.  

Talk About Concerns Your Child Has 

It’s normal for any student to be concerned about returning to school, particularly if this involves transitioning to a new school. Be sure to encourage your child to speak to you about any of their worries when it comes to starting the new school year. Encouraging your child to be excited about school and learning can help create a positive learning environment. Meanwhile, ensuring that your child feels comfortable chatting with you about school issues is always an effective strategy for helping them be successful.  

Find Out About School Fees 

It’s fairly typical for schools to have small fees that parents need to prepare for as it gets closer to the start of the school year. This can include things like paying activity fees for your child or buying special equipment such as indoor shoes for sports. Checking for school fees is important and can keep you from being surprised later.  

Consider Being Involved with a Parent’s Organization  

Many schools have parent advisory councils or other organizations to support the school. These groups often fundraise or organize different programs and events for students. If you want to meet other parents, becoming involved in these organizations is a great way to do so. Getting involved can also help you learn more about the school. Typically, these organizations are happy to allow you to volunteer as much or as little of your time as possible.  

Talk About a Homework Routine 

Homework can be one of the more unpleasant aspects of school for some students. After all, many students are anxious to play after spending a day learning. However, you will find that discussing homework routines and goals with your child ahead of time can help with their expectations. Create rules appropriate for your child when it comes to completing their homework. For example, setting rules for things like TV and internet usage will help ensure your child has enough time to do homework.  

Consider Child Care After School 

Working families will need to consider childcare after school in many situations. If you are looking for childcare, consider asking other parents you know for recommendations. For older children, after-school community sports programs can also be great options. Regardless of what your kids do after school, chat with them about the importance of following rules and listening to supervising adults.  

Final Thoughts 

Back-to-school is always a very exciting time of the year as your children get ready to transition back into the learning environment. These eight tips for newcomer parents to Canada can help ensure that you and your children are well prepared for school.  

At Achēv, our Newcomer Services offer a wide range of services to help newcomers settle smoothly in Canada. Our Newcomer Information Centres are located across the Greater Toronto Area, including Brampton, Mississauga and Oakville. Contact us today to register for our free newcomer services. 

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