Ok parents, I hate to say it but it is back to school time. In fact, some of you might have already sent your little ones back. Here in Philadelphia we are lucky enough to call it summer until the day after Labor Day. So I usually avoid facing the end of summer until I absolutely have to! Especially this year because my oldest is going off to college.
But it happens whether we like it or not so we might as well be prepared. I have compiled a list of my favorite back to school tips and routines for you to make the transition a little easier. Here ya go!
1. Determine what time your kids will need to get up for school and get them used to that schedule at least one week before the first day. If this means a few extra hours in their day – great! They’ll need it to get everything ready.
2. Find the school supplies list from your school and do a scavenger hunt in your house first. Check off the list and then take it with you to the store to buy any items you don’t have. This will save you money. Nothing wrong with used copybooks, folders and crayons – they might just need a little sprucing up.
3. Check summer reading or math assignments to make sure they are complete with your child’s name and in their folder on the first day. If they’ve put off assignments this might be the week to cram!
4. Make a weekly chart that shows all your kids after school activities and their daily chores. Post this on the fridge for daily viewing. It helps the kids to know what’s going on each day, for instance: I walk the dog after school then I have soccer after dinner. No surprises.
5. Designate a dumping place for all incoming papers, backpacks, shoes and homework. Once school starts you know the avalanche will happen. It’s a good practice to review papers each night as your children do their homework. Putting backpacks and shoes in the same place every day makes life easier for the whole family.
6. Set up a homework area for each child. This can be in their room or a common area. You’ll need a clear desktop, computer, dictionary, analog clock and possibly some bins for storing regular supplies. If table space is limited, try hanging something on the wall with multiple pockets or bins – one for each child.
7. Create a hanging file for “School Info” and “Kids Activities.” Again, I suggest a sub folder for every child. In it, you can keep reports and reference material for their schools.
8. Talk about lunches. Will your kids buy or pack? If they buy, set a budget. If they pack, talk about healthy options and get some reusable storage containers. Every school is different so check with yours about recycling and what kids are allowed to carry during the day. Make sure you are stocked with easy grab snacks, fruit and entree options and plan to pack lunches at night.
9. Set goals and boundaries. You may have the child that needs a push to get involved. Talk to him about what he’d like to join this year. I think 2 activities is a nice number. Or you may have someone who over commits and wants to play every sport, join every committee. Talk to her about budgeting her time. One sport team per season is a good rule of thumb. Or one physical activity and one intellectual.
10. Plan your last hurrah. Because I love summer and I truly love being with my kids, I like to plan something fun for the whole family to do during the last few weeks of summer break. Plan a family day to do whatever it is you like to do. Forget the schedules and lists and computers for 24 hours and just savor the summer. Mom and Dad take a day off from work and just enjoy.
How do you feel about Back to School time?