Parent Tips for Back-to-School Made Easy (At least easier!)

Back to School TipsWith 4 kids, I have to be organized when it comes preparing for and managing our school routine. My oldest child is now in her junior year of high school, so at this point, my nanny and I have established some systems that work well for my family. Here are some tips I wanted to share:

Preparations:

  • Are you up to date with your check-ups and immunizations? Does your school sports programs require a special athletic physical assessment? Make any necessary appointments and get copies of the forms and records for yourself and the school.
  • The lazy summer to the rigid school year is too hard of a transition for my kids, so we plan ahead to make the adjustment easier. During the last one to two weeks of summer, we start moving towards the school year bedtime, and begin waking up late sleepers earlier and earlier towards their school wake time.
  • We have such a busy schedule that we keep a central calendar in a visible place for doctor’s appointments, after-school activities, important due dates, and school holidays. That way, everyone can see what is going on and it reduces the questions and surprises. This can be anything from a paper calendar, to a spreadsheet, to a printout of your Google calendar.
  • Before you head to the craziness of back-to-school clothes shopping, go through your kids’ drawers, clean out any old items, and assess your child’s needs. Be sure to review your school’s dress code to avoid buying any clothing they won’t be able to wear. Your nanny can definitely help you go through the outgrown clothes, bagging them up and dropping them off at a donation center, and by making a list of items to buy.

Mornings:

  • Capitalize on your kids’ first week of school excitement by waking them up earlier to allow for extra time in the mornings. That way, you can minimize the chaos and anxiety as you establish your routine.
  • My kids used to lose track of time or get distracted in the mornings. Make a morning checklist to keep them on track (can make it custom to each child and laminate it or use this one). If your mornings are too hectic, you can make some preparations the night before like laying out clothes, packing lunches, signing forms / packing backpacks, and setting out breakfast dishes and cereal.
  • If you are like me, you may get bored with bag lunches. To help you (and me!) out, we created a Pinterest board of school lunch ideas. To speed things up, your child can help, by gathering the “sides” or making the main item.

Afternoons/Evenings:

  • Plan for easy, healthy snacks and designate a place for homework. My kids can waste 30 minutes choosing /preparing a snack and getting set up (finding pencils, etc.) if I’m not prepared. My nanny is a huge help with prepping snacks, homework help, and keeping them on track.
  • Create a menu for the evenings and let the kids help! Microsoft Word has some fun, easy menu templates that you can use and print. This helps with planning for shopping, and you don’t have to wonder what’s for dinner! Think ahead about what the week’s agenda. For example, you’ll want quick meals for a night with baseball practice and dance class, whereas a Sunday night might allow for a meal that requires more preparation.

I hope this has helped you think about preparing, and given you some good ideas to make the back-to-school transition easier. Feel free to comment with additional ideas that I can use!

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