Back to school. Whether you’re one of the moms that dreads it or one that is counting down the days, it’s COMING. So since it’s happening, why don’t we try to make it as smooth a transition as possible? Here are 6 back to school tips that will save your sanity!
This post is sponsored by Kleenex, Scott, Cottonelle and Viva but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Ok so in the interest of transparency- I’m completely awful at this. Every year I plan to get organized and it lasts about three days until it falls apart! But this year I’m turning over a new leaf, so I took some inspiration from the best organization Mommy bloggers out there.
This Weekly Snack Prep how-to from Kristine’s Kitchen is perfect for getting everything for the kids’ school snacks and lunches organized. Once you’re prepped for the week, they can grab and go each morning all on their own.
Mama Latina writes about how to create a back to school command center. No more chasing down the papers kids need signed! The kids put them in their designated spot for Mom to sign while they grab the supplies they need to get started on homework. I absolutely love this idea!
Online shopping for school supplies
Seriously, how did I not think of this one years ago? I’ve been hauling all four kids down to the old brick-and-morter with all the lists from all the teachers! Then we leave with 10 times more than we need because the kids are grabbing stuff off the shelves and throwing it in the cart.
Then there’s the inevitable tantrum when I have to say no to a new character lunchbox because we already have way too many lunch boxes.
This year I got wise and turned to my trusty pal Amazon Prime for back to school shopping!
I stocked up on essentials like Kleenex Facial Tissues (literally ALWAYS on our school’s wish list, year round) and my favorite Scott Paper Towels (super convenient how you can pick your size with Choose-A-Sheet).
Love how I didn’t have to carry those boxes home from the store.
I also saved on my order! Right now you can save up to $3 on Kleenex, Scott, Cottonelle and Viva back to school essentials at Amazon- and save even more when you subscribe and save.
(Don’t have Prime yet? No worries. You can always sign up for the 30-Day Free Trial)
Fix the sleep schedule
I’m the biggest believer in early bedtimes. Major stickler. Still somehow, the kids’ schedule inevitably starts to slide back as summer goes on.
Maybe it’s the extended daylight, or maybe it’s the never ending summer parties I can’t say no to. Regardless, come August I realize we have strayed from our ideal school year bed time and we have some changes to make.
When you’re trying to get the kids to bed early, don’t attempt to just put them down an hour earlier the night before school starts.
Sorry, it’s not that easy!
They’ll likely stay up an extra two hours just to get back at you for that move.
Instead, start a week or two ahead of time. Try to get them in bed 10 minutes earlier. A couple days later, slide ten minutes earlier than that.
Hopefully the gradual change will be more successful.
Oh, and of course make sure you are waking them up earlier too to ensure that the new schedule sticks!
Tiring them out during the day with lots of outdoor time and swimming never hurt either.
Make a visual schedule for morning routine
When a new school year starts, so does the morning madness. Especially if your kids are less than thrilled about going back to school, they will not exactly be flying through their morning routine when they wake up.
But you also don’t want to start the day with “go get dressed. I said get dressed. DID YOU NOT HEAR ME WHEN I SAID GET DRESSED!”
That’s not pleasant for anyone.
Empower kids to take charge of their own morning routine with a visual schedule. A picture schedule allows even preschoolers to follow their own morning routine on their own.
My kids love dry erase boards, so taping the pictures to a little dry erase board that they can use the markers to make a check mark next to is a big draw.
Or offer a small reward when they’ve completed their whole routine without assistance. One candy corn per day saved our mornings last fall!
Here is a free printable morning routine chart I love for kids who are not yet reading that would totally work for preschoolers and kindergarteners.
Prepare the kids
If your kids are returning to the same school as last year, they are probably comfortable beginning a new grade. But if you’ve switched schools or you have an incoming kindergartener, you will want to prepare them as much as possible.
Here are a few ideas:
- Read books together about starting school
- If you have a class list, arrange a couple playdates before the first day of school so your child will have some familiar faces
- If they offer a practice bus ride, do it
- Visit the classroom and practice walk throughs of their day (entering the school, walking to the the classroom, going to the cafeteria, coming in from recess, exiting the school)
- Meet the teacher on the day the school has visiting hours. Be sure to let the teacher know if your child is apprehensive about school and any particular anxieties they have. My oldest used to be bothered by loud noises so I alerted her kindergarten teacher and she stayed close by her during lunchtime and other activities that could get loud.
Don’t forget to make it fun
Remember, kids will decide how they feel about something new by taking cues from you. If you’re at all sad or nervous about the transition, they will pick up on it.
Be proactive- build excitement for the new school year by talking about all the fun they will have! Tell stories from when you were in school and what your favorite parts were. Make a big deal about packing their backpack or a buying a new pair of sneakers. Get them excited about learning how to read or tell time or whatever they’ll be learning this year.
And when the big day comes, make it fun with a family tradition.
It can be as simple as our picture on the front steps, or maybe yours will include a letter board or a “class of 2035” t-shirt. You can also calm their jitters with a special surprise at breakfast time. Or write a silly note to put in their lunch box and brighten their first day.
Whatever you come up with to make the day special and fun will make the positive association you want them to have with school.
What are you doing to make this school year special?
I’d love to hear YOUR favorite back to school tips!
And don’t forget to shop smart and save on back to school essentials with Amazon!