Great excitement and anxiety often accompany the start of school. My oldest, who's 4, will go to school for the very first time this year. He is so excited! I'm a mix of emotions. How did my baby grow up so fast?
Whether you're a seasoned back-to-school parent or caregiver, or you're like me, getting ready to do this for the first time, we have the best tips and tricks (teacher and mom approved) to help get you and your family into a successful back-to-school routine.
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Your Back to School Checklist
Schedule Back to School Hair Cuts
We all have curly hair and have been waiting for the perfect time for our oldest to get his hair cut. The start of the school year is the perfect time for a trim or a new do for your child!
Get Organized for the School Year
Every mom and teacher friend we talked to said this is a MUST! Get your homework space organized and your outfits organized (some moms prefer doing this nightly, others weekly).
Get your food containers and the food itself organized. You'll need “packable” food items for lunches, quick breakfasts and easy dinners. Check out these creative school lunch ideas! We have extensive food allergies. In case you do too, here are some allergen-friendly school lunch ideas.
Schedule a Practice Run
Another must from moms in-the-know: practice run your back-to-school routine.
- Start two weeks in advance shifting bedtime earlier and waking up earlier.
- Pick a day and run through what your actual morning will be like once school is back in session. Wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed and out the door.
- Drive by where you'll drop the kids off at the bus stop or where you'll take them to school/the sitter.
- Finally, drive to your job. Don't forget to account for traffic and give yourself some extra time for any last minute issues that may arise.
Create an End of Summer Bucket List
Create an end of summer bucket list and throw a school year's eve party at your house for your kiddos, no matter their age or if they're private, public or home-schooled. Kids love traditions!
Help Ease Back to School Jitters
Preparing kids a few weeks in advance for the school year is a must. Remember your school jitters: Will I fit in? Who will I sit with at lunch? What will my teacher be like? How do I find my way around such a big school? Help calm your child's anxiety with the worry monster box.
Write down your children's concerns and talk about them (be a good listener! Avoid saying don't be scared or they may feel invalid and shut down). Then, let the monster box eat the worries gone!
For those who practice religion, you could give the worries to Jesus by creating a cross and taping the worries to it. The Kissing Hand book is another great way to work out school worries.
Purchase School Supplies
School supply lists can seem overwhelming. Try shopping for supplies in the early morning or shortly before stores close to avoid the crowds. Shopping without kids is another idea to save time.
Another way to save time is by shopping online. Both Target and Walmart have a School List Assist feature that allows you to purchase items from your child's school supply list and either pick them up at the store or have them delivered.
Save on Back to School Clothing
For the clothing side, set a budget and shop the clearance racks. I'm super frugal so anytime I can save a few dollars, I'm all over it!
Visit Child's School
We talked earlier about back-to-school jitters so here's another way to help kids feel more comfortable. Visit the school and meet his/her teacher. Tour the building. Show the littles where the restroom is and the big kids where each of their classes will be. Sometimes just knowing what to expect can eliminate this anxiety altogether.
Complete Necessary Paperwork and Check-ups
Don't forget to get any well checks, vaccinations, physical (if needed/wanted) and get any paperwork signed by a doctor before the start of school.
If your child has food allergies like our oldest does, make sure you have a note from the doctor and a plan with the teacher for snacks or lunches.
Get Ready for First Day of School Pictures
You know those adorable first and last day pictures we see while scrolling through Facebook in late August and early June? Here are some free printables to mark these precious milestones.
Prepare to be Busy
Back-to-school is exciting — and busy! Adulting is an exhausting job in and of itself, then add in extracurriculars for one, two or three children? Oh my!
Work on a schedule that allows you to get some time to yourself, with your spouse, and one that allows you to ENJOY the extracurricular your child has/children have taken an interest in.
Roll with the Punches
Sigh. I am a stress yeller. When the “plan” isn't going as planned (ex: we are running behind because our 4-year-old has very specific socks he is looking for and only those socks can be worn with his outfit today. Or, somehow I am responsible for knowing where one very specific toy has been put? You know what I'm talking about), I feel the stress meter inside me begin to rise, along with my voice.
Take in the moments and teach yourself to roll with the punches and laugh, even if it doesn't feel like the appropriate thing to do 🙂
Do you have an awesome back-to-school tip or trick we didn't mention? Leave a comment below and tell us all about what works best for your family!
Prayers for a happy, safe and healthy 2017-18 school year, friends!