The tell tale signs that summer is ending are everywhere – the weather is cooling off in most parts of the country, the daily visit from the neighbourhood ice cream truck has disappeared and back to school sales are everywhere you look. Summer is coming to a close and our kids will soon be heading off to begin another year of school.

As parents, helping your kids prepare for that first day of school is important, but you also want to see them succeed throughout the year and beyond. Below are some tips to help prepare your kids in advance:

Set a Schedule

For a couple of months, your children, as most children do during summer vacation, were probably staying up late and sleeping in. Get them on a back to school routine a week or two before school starts to ensure they are ready to begin a new year refreshed and recharged.

Purchase Supplies

It’s time to take advantage of the sales! Purchase the supplies your kids will need for school now so they aren’t struggling to find what they need later on. If you aren’t sure what supplies are required, ask other parents and feel free to contact the school’s administration office.

Encourage Ongoing Learning

Just because your kids weren’t in school all summer doesn’t mean the learning stops! When they’re home, take the time to, not only teach your kids, but to show them that learning is fun. Read books, name colours while out and about, take trips to the museum and take day trips outside of your community to engage your children’s minds.

Meet the Teachers

Most schools have an open house or a meet the teach night. Such nights are often held before, or soon after the start of the school year. You and your children should attend so you are both familiar with the classrooms and teachers. Taking interest in your children’s education sends a message that school is important. It also provides you with some insight into your children’s lives, helping to establish positive communication.

Save for the Future

Even if they are just starting their first day of kindergarten this year, it’s still important to think about your children’s academic future. Before you know it, you’ll be helping them prepare for college or university!

Post secondary education is an important investment, but it can be quite costly if you aren’t ready.   With the annual rise in tuition fees, now is the time to save so your children aren’t faced with a mound of debt when they’re ready to take that step.

One option you may want to look into is opening a registered education savings plan (RESP).

What exactly is an RESP?

An RESP is much like a savings account to help families save for post secondary education. Every cent you place in the account is tax free and interest grows until your child chooses to attend a qualified post secondary education program. To further help families reach their goal, the Canadian government matches up to 20 per cent of your contributions, allowing you to receive up to $7200 over the life of the plan.

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As the new school year approaches, it’s important to prepare your kids for the first day back. But also be sure to consider their future goals and aspirations by encouraging ongoing literacy and learning as well as saving for post secondary education.