It’s almost back to school time already, but if you have kids, you probably don’t need a reminder. We hope your family is excited to get back to learning, but we understand if you feel more apprehensive than enthusiastic when you see yet another back to school commercial. No one wants relaxing summer fun with their family to end, especially the kids! Not to mention, school and the preparation for it can become stressful and expensive. That’s why we’re here! We want to help you eliminate some of that stress and make this the easiest, best back to school season yet! Here are some tips that you and your family can try in preparation for the upcoming school year!
Ease Into Your Schedule
Lots of children and young adults go to bed later and sleep in longer during the summer because they often don’t have a strict schedule to follow. The alarm clock going off at 7 am on the first day of school can really hit kids hard if they haven’t already eased back into the their school night routine. To avoid sleep deprivation when your kids need to be their most focused and prepared, try making bedtimes earlier over the course of the last two weeks of their summer. The same can be done with waking them up. It might also be beneficial, especially for younger children, to start having meal times at the same time they are served at school. This way your child’s stomach won’t be growling by second period!
Figure out a Schedule
With school comes early morning car or bus rides, soccer practices, piano lessons, parent teacher meetings, and more! Since this can be a lot to remember, try implementing a family calendar. A large monthly calendar with spacious squares is perfect for putting down everything that each member of the family has to do in one place. Dry erase calendars are perfect for making necessary revisions and if you’re feeling extra organized, color coding the activity by family member can also be very beneficial! If it is applicable to your family, you could also add schedules like lunch menus, sports practices or rehearsals, or even your child’s homework assignments. That way, you can make sure they’re keeping up with what they need to get done.
As soon as you can get your schedule made, use it to figure out transportation to and from school, extra curricular activities, and more! Decide whether you will be utilizing the school busses or driving your children yourself. It could also be very helpful and save on gas money to look into carpooling with friends that are close by! Either way, determining as soon as possible how you plan to get your children from point A to point B can help avoid stress on the day of the event or being late.
Visit Your Doctor
Make sure your children are up to date with their immunizations and paperwork as soon as you know what you need! If you’re not sure, contact your school or check the school district’s website before you visit the pediatrician. School entry may require documentation of immunization records and athletes often need proof of medical examination and other health related forms. Some preparation can help keep you from frantic last-minute searches for paperwork or trying desperately to squeeze in an appointment at the doctor’s office!
Stock up on Supplies
Back to school shopping can be a long haul. Therefore, it’s best done in small bites. For example, you could shop for clothes one day, school supplies another, and books or electronics another. Just like everything else, it is best to get this done as soon as possible. No kid likes having to pick from the last few folders or backpacks. If you’re looking to save some money, keep in mind that back to school sales start as early as July! Another great way to save is to make sure you’re not buying things you don’t need. Go through last years school supplies and see if there are any notebooks that never got used or if your markers are still in good condition. You can also go through your child’s closet and see what fits and what needs to go. (Bonus: You can donate their old clothes to charity.) Once you’ve taken inventory, make a list of exactly what you need so you’re only buying what is necessary and not distracted! Other money saving strategies include shopping on tax free days and focusing on the big-ticket items when searching for deals. Basically, don’t worry so much about finding the lowest price on pens and pencils since they’ll probably be reasonably priced already. Instead, search for deals and coupons on backpacks, electronics, etc.
Stop Morning Madness
If you haven’t figured out the common theme in this blog so far, it’s staying ahead of the game and getting things done early. This strategy isn’t just helpful when preparing for the school year, but during it as well. Start making sure all of your ducks are in a row the night before school to save time in the mornings and make them less hectic! Make sure backpacks are packed, clothes are laid out, ingredients for breakfast are on hand, lunches are made, homework is done, ect. If you’re kids are fighting over space to get ready in the morning, you could also make a bathroom schedule that works for your family.
Hopefully, these tips will streamline the back to school process and help your family enjoy the excitement of this time rather than focus on the stress and expense. Of course, being prepared is what’s going to do you the most good in these situations. Just take time to appreciate this experience together, because your children won’t be this young forever! We wish you and your children a happy and productive school year!