The dreaded month of back-to-school is nearly upon us, and it’s time to hunker down, stock up on food and get ready for a very busy next few weeks. I put together a few tips and tricks to surviving back-to-school while getting your kids prepared for their next year.
Set Sleep Schedules
Summer sleep schedules are often flexible, and when it still looks daylight at 10 pm it can be difficult to get kids to sleep. But, as school is fast approaching, it’s important to start now to get your kids back into a school-appropriate sleeping schedule. Start waking your kids up a few minutes earlier every morning to ease kids back into a 7:00 am wake up call, and start getting them ready for bed around 9:00 pm.
Prep Packed Lunch
Meal-prepping is an increasingly popular phenomenon, and it’s easily applicable to school lunches! Spend Sunday with the kids prepping the week’s lunches for an easy week of grabbing lunch.
Order the Necessities Online
A few years ago, I would have spent hours searching for advertisements to find out which of five stores had the cheapest prices for items on my kids’ school lists. Now, it’s so much easier to order all your kids’ school supplies online! Major chains have great deals, you can order online and pick up in-store, or have everything delivered to your door. Plus, shopping online provides a great opportunity to get your kids involved. It’s easy to have them sit with you and pick backpacks, lunch boxes, pencil boxes, and even teacher’s gifts. Additionally, they feel involved in the preparation and feel ready for school.
Readjust the Mind for Learning
Summer is usually three months of leisure time for my kids. They read books and go on adventures and participate in many activities, but their academic brains are shut off. As we approach the start of the school year, it’s time to start integrating some more focused thinking. To start, limit screen time. During the school year, my kids only get one hour of free computer time. I use the month of August to wean them down from their summer screen time. Have your kids pick a new book to read before school starts. Consider having your kids start doing a worksheet every day to re-familiarize with their school subjects.
Establish a Command Center
Forming a base of operations is key to surviving back-to-school craziness. In my house, we have a white-board calendar with important dates, a shopping list and a chore chart. I’ve found it’s helpful to put all the important back-to-school dates (registration, back-to-school night, the first day of school) on the calendar so the whole family can keep track. At the start of each school year, we also take the time to re-evaluate the chores assigned to each person. As kids get older, they often handle more responsibility around the house; as such, we discuss what tasks they want to keep, which they’ve outgrown, and anything new they want to take on.
Get on the Same Page as Teachers
Since learning that my 12-year-old is on the spectrum, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of an early one-on-one with each teacher. It’s a good idea to clearly communicate your child’s needs to their teacher (especially special needs). Teachers appreciate a parent that wants to know the classroom goals and invests in supporting those goals at home. If you’re not sure what to ask, check out these questions!
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