Back to School Preparation: 5 Tips to Get Your Family Ready
It seems too early for school to start doesn’t it? I mean just a few days ago it was July and already… I’m staring down a pile of school supplies, sports uniforms that need washing, and more forms to fill out than I have hands for.
But that’s the nature of back to school preparation. It’s getting everything from medical forms to school clothes in order for the big day. You might even think that it’s too early to begin getting ready for school to start but it’s really not. In fact, right now is the perfect time to get everyone on the same page before the school bell rings in a few weeks. Here are five things you can do right now to make the transition to the first day of school easier on yourself, and your kids.
Bedtime Routine – The other night we sat down as a family and went over the bedtime schedule for the new school year. While I explained how bedtimes would work this year I also gave the family a head's up on when we’d start working into the bedtime routine and schedule. You don’t want to start the bedtime schedule the day before school starts. Easing your kids into the bedtime routine two to three weeks before school begins will help their bodies get acclimated to the new schedule and ensure they’re getting enough sleep before the big day arrives.
Get in Touch with Teachers – The first day will be extremely busy and many schools have their open houses right before the start of school. While open house is a great way to connect with your son or daughter’s teacher, it can also be a very hectic time for teachers as every other parent in the class clamors for a moment to talk about their child too. I like to take a moment before the start of school and send our new teacher an email introducing myself and my child (if the teacher doesn’t already know me from my other kids) and letting them know any concerns I might have or problems my child may have. This is especially helpful if your child has an IEP in place for learning because sometimes that information gets missed at the start of school.
Organize the Paper before It Gets out of Control – This year we’ll have all four kids in school. Some quick math (and common sense) will tell you that we’re on schedule to get a tidal wave of paper coming through the door when school starts. Start a system of organizing the paperwork. A file folder system by child or date usually works best. Put the important dates into an easy to find (and update) calendar and create a space where it’s easily accessible to find. This way you'll never forget where all of the go-to information such as the monthly school newsletters, lunch menus, and early release dates are hiding.
Coordinate Travel and Transportation – I’m lucky that the kids all ride the bus but occasionally they are driven to school. We have a few people that we can call on if there is ever a need to have someone pick the kids up from school or take them (this happens most often when I’m traveling). Every year though it’s a good idea to make sure those on your call list are still able to help out. Don’t forget that it’s only fair that you make yourself available for those on your call list as well. If you can’t commit then don’t expect them to either.
Back to School Grocery Trip – My kids don’t like school lunches every day and I can’t blame them (Jamie Oliver where are you?!) so for the days when they don’t like what the school is serving we need to make sure there are enough snacks and lunch box ready foods available. The days that they pack lunches are scheduled into the calendar as well as the days they buy lunches. Put these lunch items on a separate shelf so everyone knows they are for school lunches only – this has helped us ensure that the kids all have enough for lunches and we’re not scouring the cupboards or making last minute trips to the store the night before.
On that same note, once school starts make sure the kids lunch accounts are topped off as well so there’s plenty of money available for lunch buying days.
Of course this isn’t a definite list of what needs to be done before the start of school but these tips have greatly helped me prepare myself and the kids and keeps us from forgetting something at the last minute.
What back to school preparation tips do you have to share?