Today is the best day of the year as far as I’m concerned – it’s the day my kids go back to school. We had a blast traveling, going on day trips and doing all sorts of fun things over the summer, but the time has come to get back into a routine. Now that the new school year is upon us, so are some big changes to routines and schedules.
Aside from practicing our skills over the summer (reading for my seven year old and alphabet & numbers with my four year old), here are a few things I do to help the transition from summer fun to back to school go smoothly.
1. Establish an earlier bedtime routine. Over the summer I relax a little bit and let my boys who are four & seven go to bed a little later. All summer my four year old has been going to bed around 7:15-7:30pm and my seven year old went around 8 pm. Last night we re-established our school year bedtime routine and they went to bed at 7 and 7:30 pm, respectively. Young kids need at least ten hours of sleep per night to be at their best.
You should go to bed a little earlier, too – if you can. It can’t hurt to catch up a little, right?
2. Make lunches, lay out their clothes for the next day and pack the backpack the night before. For some reason, those extra chores in the morning always seem to set me back, so for me, it’s a real time saver getting what I can done in advance.
3. Label, label, label. I have some name labels for each of my boys and I label everything. Jackets, backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, umbrellas…..you get the picture. If it’s not labeled, there is a 50/50 shot of getting it back that night when they come home.
4. Keep a detailed family calendar. Not only is school starting back up, but so are all those extra activities. This September we have cub scouts, fall baseball, drum lessons and ccd starting back up…..and that’s just for my seven year old. One central place to keep everything written down, which is available for everyone in the house, makes scheduling other things go much more smoothly. I have a dry erase calendar and I keep mine on my fridge.
5. Make sure they eat breakfast before they leave for school. I know it sounds cliche, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. If they don’t eat before they leave, they’re just going to be focused on lunch when they should be focusing on their school work. This one is hard for me because I’m not a big breakfast eater and the kids know that, but none the less, I insist they have a little something before they leave. And that goes for my four year old who doesn’t eat. Even if he has a few pretzels or goldfish crackers – it’s better than nothing in his tummy.
This one isn’t really prep for the first day back to school, but rather prep for half way through the year:
6. Shop for supplies before the school year starts. In addition to the supplies that your kids need, why not stock up on some extra things that you can send in to the teacher later in the school year? Most teachers have to pay for supplies out of pocket, so if you can help out – the teachers truly appreciate it. When my seven year old was in kindergarten, I volunteered in the classroom once a week. By November, the teacher was completely out of gluesticks and crayons. Because I went there on a regular basis, I would purchase gluesticks at the dollar store and bring her a weekly delivery. She was truly thankful for the help and I knew I was not only helping my son, but the other 20 kids in the class. The prices for supplies are as low as they’re going to get, so stock up now.
Your turn – what do you do to prep for back to school?