It’s that time of year again, back to school! As a parent, you know that the new school year means lots of work, stress, and money! Getting the kids ready to go back to school or even start school for the first time can be challenging.
There’s a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it because time flies through the summer, and before you know it, you have one week until your kids start school again, and you have a long to-do list. This guide has the five most important things to do when getting your family ready for back to school.
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7 Essential Back to School Tips & Must Do’s
1. Go Back to School Shopping
Going back to school means a lot of shopping! There’s so much you need to buy, which can feel overwhelming. There are some great money-saving hacks when buying back-to-school items.
To help from spending a bunch of money, start prepping for the school year a few months in advance. Take any opportunities to find great deals, rather than waiting to do all of your shopping right before the new school year starts. For items you have to wait on, shop back-to-school sales.
- Lunchbox (and fun lunchbox notes!)
- School supplies
- Re-usable water bottle
If you’re looking to save money on back-to-school shopping, you can consider buying second-hand items such as clothing, kid’s backpacks, etc. Try to shop sales throughout the year or couponing for other things. Before purchasing school supplies, check with your children’s school, as some schools provide or offer free school supplies to families in need.
2. Start Getting the Kids on a Schedule
Summer tends to mess up kids’ schedules. Kids typically go to bed, wake up, spend more time on electronics, have sleepovers or late nights with friends, etc. And getting out of that routine can be a challenge.
It’s a good idea to start getting back into the school routine a few weeks before school starts so that the change can be more gradual.
Here are a few things you might want to adapt and create a schedule for:
- Earlier bedtime
- Earlier wake-up time
- Start reading/other academic activities
- Limiting screentime
- After-school routine & requirements
Change is hard for everyone, especially kids. And making changes for the start of the school year is often even more difficult because going to bed earlier and spending less time with friends is no fun. A few things you might consider getting to help the kids get into a new routine are;
- Alarm clock
- Before school checklist
- An after-school checklist
- Pre-screentime checklist
- Chore chart
- Calendar or a planner
3. Include Educational Activities Every Day
Getting an excellent refresher before the school year starts can be good. Read books, use flashcards, play educational games, etc. Find different ways to review the things the kids learned this last year to prepare them for the new year.
Doing these educational activities is also great practice for what it will be like to have homework every day. That will make the transition easier on the kids, as it will already be a part of their routine.
4. Deep Clean & Organize the House
It’s a good idea to deep clean the house before school starts. Odds are, the place got pretty messy over the summer, and there’s not as much time during the school year to get the house super clean. When your home is in order, it can feel like a nice clean start to the school year.
Consider getting the kids a chore chart to add scheduled chores into their routines. That will help keep the house tidy throughout the school year, which means less stress and more time to finish everything.
While deep cleaning, take time to do some back-to-school organizing. Make sure your kids know where to put their backpacks and lunchboxes, set up an after-school snack station, a good place for kids to work on their homework, etc. Starting the year off organized will help save time and effort throughout the school year.
5. Review Safety Measures With the Kids
Before the kids start, school is a great time to review different safety measures they must practice throughout the year. You can never be too safe or talk about safety with your kids too much. Whether this is the first time you’re having these conversations or the hundredth time, there are a few things to discuss with your kids before school starts to ensure their safety.
Things to Talk to Your Kids About Before Starting School
- Crossing the Street
Practice crossing the street with your kids multiple times before school starts. Even if they don’t walk home from school alone, they might still have to cross the parking lot to get to school pick-up or the bus. You can never practice crossing the street too much.
- Walking To/From School
Another great thing to practice with your kids is walking to and from school. Walking with them will help them learn the route, the best places to cross the street, how long it will typically take, etc.
- Riding the Bus
Practice the walk to and from the bus stop with your kids so they know what to expect. Talk to them about the importance of paying attention to their surroundings and getting off at the right stop.
- What To Do If A Stranger Approaches Them
You can never be too safe when it comes to strangers. Having a conversation with your kids about what to do can be good if a stranger approaches them. Many families even implement a code word so that if someone tries to pick up the kids from school but doesn’t know the code word, they are not to go with that person.
- Bullying Or Harassment
Sadly, bullying and harassment have become much too common in schools. It’s important to talk to your kid about what bullying and harassment are. This way, they will be able to identify it and keep from being bullied or bullying others.
Often kids don’t realize they are being mean. They might think it’s playful teasing. It’s essential not only to teach kids what to do if they’re being bullied but also what bullying can look like and make sure they aren’t doing it to others.
Parents are doing more and more these days to help keep their kids safe by getting them special kids’ phones or watches that allow limited contacts, GPS tracking, and much more! That is an excellent alternative to the generic cell phone.
- Handwashing & Sanitizing
With all the sicknesses and pandemics, it’s a good time to talk to your kids about ensuring they wash their hands regularly. Help your kids practice washing their hands every time they use the restroom, before they eat, when they come in from outside, etc. You could also put a mini clip-on hand sanitizer on their backpack when they don’t have access to a sink.
6. Go to Back to School Night
Take advantage of your school’s offers of a back-to-school night or a meet-the-teacher event! It can help lessen the stress and nerves that kids often feel before going back to school if they can see their classmates, meet their teacher, or visit their classroom ahead of time. It can make the first day of school less scary and more exciting.
That is also a great time to ask questions and prepare for any school activities or traditions the teacher might have. You can find out if there are any teacher supplies your children’s classroom might need if you’re interested in donating school supplies. Teachers often need standard classroom supplies: sanitizer, tissues, Clorox wipes, notebooks, pens and pencils, and other basic stationary and school supplies.
7. Get in the Last of Your Summer Activities
Summer’s over, which means it’s about to get colder! Now is the time to get in the last of the warm weather activities your family hoped to do over the summer. Go on a road trip, waterpark, or even to the next town. Take advantage of the last little family time before the school year.
Even if the school year has already started, you likely still have a month or two of decent weather. Use the evenings and weekends to get outside while you still can.
Final Thoughts on Back to School
Going to school can be scary, exciting, or anything in between. That goes for the kids and the parents. Being prepared can help eliminate some of those negative feelings about starting school and make more room for those happy feelings.
School should be a safe, fun, and beneficial place for kids. Whether your kids are in pre-school, kindergarten, or grade school, working through this to-do list will have every family member ready and excited for school.
This article originally appeared on Wealth of Geeks.