Back-to-school tips for parents and students


For families in Archuleta County, the start of school can be an exciting and sometimes stressful time. But there are many things that parents can do to ease the anxiety for youth starting school for the first time and for older students making the transition to upper classes.

The following suggestions are taken from the Colorado State University Fact Sheet #10.246, Back-to-School, written by P.A. Johnson and J. Carroll, and can be found in its entirety on the CSU Extension website at

K-8th grades

Encourage children to take responsibility for their belongings by putting their toys in special places and by hanging, folding and putting away clothes. Early practice will help children take better care of mittens, lunch boxes and other personal items when in school. Help children print and recognize their names on personal items and help them learn to check lost-and-found boxes.

Assist children in building self-help skills. It makes children feel good if they can zip, button and tie with little or no help from others. Kindergartners who can perform such tasks often volunteer to help classmates and make friends while being helpful. Teachers realize the importance of praise and often show their approval when children show initiative. Every opportunity for praise helps to build children’s self-esteem.

Make sure immunization records are current. If you have questions, call the local health department or school nurse. Have complete and accurate emergency information on file with the school. Most schools provide a packet of required information that you should send with your child on or before the first day of school. A good night’s rest and a nutritious breakfast are essential for children to be healthy and productive.

Elementary and middle school children experience a different anxiety as they move from one grade to another. There are different schedules, class changes, teachers, classmates, friends and, at times, schools. Each school year brings a period of adjustment and adult patience and encouragement are needed and wanted during this time. Be a good listener.

In summary:

  • Show children love and support.
  • Shop wisely for back-to-school needs and wants.
  • Reuse and recycle school supplies, clothes and toys.
  • Find special programs that provide school clothing and supplies if you need them.
  • Teach and practice taking care of personal items or belongings.
  • Talk about expectations and establish rules.
  • Help children get organized.
  • Set a time and a place for homework.
  • Discuss involvement in extra-curricular activities that interest children.
  • Get to know teachers and other school personnel.
  • Support school and activities.
  • Set bedtime and morning routines including time for a nutritious breakfast.
  • Help children realize school is fun and important.

Ninth to 12th grades and beyond

Young people are faced with new and different decisions: attending and finishing high school, preparing to go to college, etc. and they need to know they can count on family members for emotional support as they navigate the many decisions of this developmental stage. Back-to-school is a teachable time.

The most important consumer skill for teenagers to learn any time of year is saving. “Pay yourself first” is a rule everyone can adopt. Setting aside funds for future expenditures provides opportunity, security and peace of mind.

Budgeting is another important consumer skill for teens to master. Back-to-school time is perfect for evaluating needs and wants while measuring them against income. Encourage teens to set aside savings first. Budgeting helps avoid unexpected costs that can be especially difficult for college freshmen. High telephone bills and pizza deliveries can add up. Remember to put them in the budget.

Studying requires much concentration. Plan times and places free from distractions and interruptions, such as the library or a quiet room. Include time for work and play. Planning mealtimes, exercise and social activities will not take away from fun, but help avoid procrastination so deadlines are met and more is accomplished. Budgeting both time and money helps to achieve and maintain control over one’s life.

A well-balanced diet is necessary to remain healthy and alert. It is easy for older students to forget the importance of a healthy diet, as fast food places and pizza parlors are often meeting places for friends. A balanced diet includes fruits and vegetables. Protect your pocketbook and your health by making wise choices from the menu.

A summary of ways to help students in this age group succeed include:

  • Show love and support.
  • Plan and prepare for success.
  • Teach money management by lesson and example.
  • “Pay yourself first” to ensure regular savings.
  • Budget money and time to enhance control of life.
  • Maximize value by shopping smart.
  • High school and college courses require concentration.
  • Encourage a healthy diet.

CPR and first aid

CPR and first aid certification classes are offered monthly by the CSU Extension office on the second Monday and Wednesday of each month from 6-10 p.m. Anyone needing to receive or renew certification can register by calling the Extension office at 264-5931.

We will also schedule classes on additional dates with five or more registrations. Cost for the classes are $80 for combined CPR/first aid and $55 for individual CPR or first aid. The type of first aid information provided will vary by the needs of the audience. Group rates are available. Call the Extension office at 264-5931 for information.

Free wood chips

We are cleaning up the fairgrounds and all of the wood chips that helped keep things dry during the fair are available to anyone for pickup. If you are interested, just bring your pickup and haul it away. No need to call the Extension office for permission.

Shred-It event

Prevent identity theft — clean out your file cabinets and support the Archuleta County 4-H program by bringing up to three boxes of papers per person for on-site shredding on Thursday, Oct. 2.

The shred truck will be set up at the downtown Citizens Bank parking lot from 3 to 5 p.m. Cost is $5 per box and all proceeds go to support your local 4-H program.

No registration is necessary, but for questions, call the CSU Extension office at 264-5931.