Summer break goes by fast. We know that the start of the new school year can really take you by surprise—we feel it, too! When you don’t prepare for the back-to-school season, quickly your peaceful summer afternoons turn into chaotic school nights.
Whether it’s high school or kindergarten, distance learning, or in-person, you and your kiddos need time to adjust and prepare the calendar before school starts. This will set you all up for success! So, today, we’re sharing some tips for preparing for the back-to-school school season:
Prepping for Back to School
Start your routine BEFORE school starts.
Sleep schedules are crazy. Sometimes, you don’t eat until 9:00. Lots of usual boundaries get so relaxed that we totally forget they exist. Now, your kids have to sit in a classroom, be disciplined about doing homework, and stick to a set routine.
This is a big change, and not adequately preparing for it could leave your kids snoozing in math class and throwing tantrums over their reading homework. A week or two before the school year starts, begin their new routine. Give them time to adjust, and give yourself time to ensure the new schedule will work for the whole family.
Schedule your priorities.
Stephen Covey says, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Isn’t this true for the new school year? You can easily find yourself longing again for the peaceful, memory-filled days of summer when you’re amid all the chaos that comes with school. Practices or games every night. Volunteer commitments. Sleepover and hang-out management. The list goes on and on!
But you don’t have to miss out on all your family time just because the kids are in school. Schedule game night. Prioritize family dinners when you can. And even build in time for sitting around the TV or out on the porch. If it’s a priority, make it happen, and don’t let your other commitments roll over it. This will help you all feel more rested, relaxed, and focused when it’s time to get to work.
Stock up on supplies.
You probably go school supply list shopping just before the beginning of the new year. But don’t just get the bare minimum. Stock up! Not only are school supplies the cheapest this time of year, but you don’t want to be making sudden trips to the store in the middle of your busy school season to replace lost or spent supplies.
If you have young children, this is an even better tip! Because they are ALWAYS losing things. So, stock up on the most important school supplies. Notebooks, pencils, and erasers are all stuff they can’t go without, no matter what grade. That way, you’re not digging through junk drawers and old backpacks at 8:00 p.m. looking for a #2 pencil.
Help your child get organized.
Most kids don’t know how to organize on their own. Like most skills, it must be taught. Teach them how to get things ready at night so mornings go faster. Show them how they can separate their work into folders and binder tabs. When they get overwhelmed by a big task, teach them how to break it down into a to-do list. Maybe invest in a planner. Really, anytime they get stressed or frustrated because they can’t find something or things are taking too long, see it as an opportunity to teach them how to organize.
See the classroom and meet the teacher.
Especially for younger students, meeting their teacher and seeing the classroom before the first day of school is a great idea. This way, your child can start getting excited about school. And this will hopefully prevent a meltdown the day of when they’re overwhelmed by the new people and new scenery. So don’t skip out on back-to-school or meet-the-teacher events before that first day!
But it’s not just a helpful prep event for kids! For parents, starting a good relationship with the teacher and opening a dialogue with him/her will be great for everyone involved! Communication is key to a successful parent-teacher relationship. So, take advantage of orientation. If the school doesn’t have one or you missed it, reach out anyway to see if you can arrange a meeting.
Stick to a bedtime routine.
A solid bedtime routine is vital for a successful school year. Children (and adults!) who stick to a sleep schedule experience less fatigue, less daytime drowsiness, and better focus. Your child needs 8-11 hours of sleep at night, depending on their age. So, make that a priority and stick to the same schedule.
Remember, a bedtime routine doesn’t just include going to sleep at a certain time. It’s also brushing teeth, taking a bath, reading a story, journaling, or any number of relaxing activities. Keeping this routine the same will help your child wind down, fall asleep faster, and experience better sleep at night so they can be well-rested for their busy day at school.
Organize the car.
Our cars get messy and disorganized. This can make the weekday mornings even more hectic. You can organize your car by designating a trash bin, keeping kid essentials sorted, and using shower caddies for any on-the-go breakfasts and after-school snacks. And don’t forget to have an organized emergency kit full of medical essentials and commonly forgotten items.
Additionally, you want to keep everything strapped down. Heavy backpacks can be huge projectile risks. In a crash, they could bounce around your car, causing grave injury to your passengers. So, designate a place for backpacks. Put them in a bin in the trunk or buckle them up in an empty seatbelt like they’re just an extra passenger. Don’t let backpacks or any other projectile sit loose in the car.
Practice getting in and out of the car seat.
Those drop-off lines are brutal. Make sure you can quickly get your children into their seats and quickly get them out. Practice if you have to! And, if they’re old enough, teach them how to remove themselves from their car seat. You can use an UnbuckleMe for a quick and easy solution!
We recommend offering lots of low-stakes practice time before your child faces the pressure of the car line. Bring the car seat into the living room and have them practice buckling into an already-snug harness, then getting out again. Before you know it, your kiddo will be a pro! Just make sure your child knows that it’s only safe to apply their new skill when the car is stopped and the driver lets them know it’s time to get out.
Whether you drive one kiddo to school on your way to the office or carpool the entire neighborhood, Car Line Season (also known as “Hurry-Up-and-Wait Season”) waits for no one. Here are some tips to ensure your elementary kiddos are riding through car lines safely and securely this school year.
Read books about starting school.
If you have a child headed to school for the first time, it’s important to prepare them for the experience. To do this, read books about going to school. Get them excited and used to the idea of the routine and responsibilities. Encourage your child to ask questions and be honest with their feelings about school, too. It’ll create good dialogue and establish a great start to the school year. Here’s a list of some of our fav books for back-to-school season.
Prepare for the drop-off and pick-up procedures.
As we said earlier, school drop-off and pick-up lines can be crazy! Make sure you review all the requirements for your school’s line and stay focused. There is a lot going on, so make sure you are 100% distraction-free and ready to pull up and unload. Review the game plan with your children, too, so everyone can hop to it the minute it’s your turn!
If your child’s school has a traditional parking lot drop-off system. Make sure you review parking lot safety tips! Between all the kids running around and the hurried commuters zooming out of the lot to get to work, parking lots can be really unsafe. It’s a good idea to train your children how to act when in any parking lot, but especially the busy morning school parking lot!
Learn about bus safety.
When school starts, you may have the choice between dropping off your kids or sending them on the bus. Even though the idea of another driver transporting your kid to school might sound scary, buses are the safest vehicles on the road. In fact, your child is 70 times more likely to get to school safely on a bus. Wow!
You can learn more details about school bus safety here. But the point is, do your research before you decide. If driving your child to school isn’t easy with your routine, don’t rule out the idea of the bus. It’s a convenient and safe option for every family! (Yes, even ones without seat belts!)
Preparing for the school year will set everyone in your household up for success this season!
Don’t let your household fall apart this school year. Take some time to prepare so everyone is ready for the new routine and expectations. The whole family will have less stress, and everyone can take advantage of the joy that comes with this new season! This time of the year means back to jam-packed activities, friends, and, for mom, maybe a little downtime!
Start the year off right by being proactive. You won’t regret it! And, if you’re interested in more back-to-school information, check out our blog. We offer relevant information on parenthood, car seats, and transportation to help keep your family safe and stress-free. Follow these back-to-school prep tips to make this year as easy as ABC!
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