Ready or not, Back-to-School time is here!
Transitioning from summer to back-to-school is rough for even the most seasoned moms, but hopefully, these tips and tricks might make your experience a little less painful:
Outsource, if possible – Some schools/PTOs offer a school supply fundraiser where by paying a little more, they order the exact school supplies your child needs and deliver them straight to the teacher. If your school does this, stop immediately and take advantage of this option. If your school doesn’t, keep reading …
Shop early – stores typically offer their sales/deals starting in July. Historically, they don’t replenish much of their stock, if any, as August rolls on, so don’t wait for a better deal, or you’ll end up short some items and have to pay a premium to track them down elsewhere.
Buy online – In theory, it may be meaningful/cute/tradition to take them back-to-school supply shopping, but in reality, it is not a good experience for anyone. Order what you can through your go-to online retailer and have it shipped home or for store pick up. If there’s something they want to pick out personally, do it online!
Delegate – Even preschoolers are capable of assembling a basic sack lunch, so stop making their lives easier and make YOUR life easier. If they want to bring their lunch to school, it’s their job to pack it.
Practice – It may seem strange to have your kid “practice” making their lunch at home, but this will serve you well starting NOW, not just when school is back in session!
Lunches at school – if you’re new to the school, take time to learn how the lunch buying process goes and make sure your child understands the basics (Can they charge to an account? Do they have to use a PIN or other identifier?).
Preparation is key – Stock your pantry/fridge with staples that you know your kid will eat and can handle themselves in the cafeteria (kindergarteners + Lunchables = cafeteria aide nightmare). Most schools post the month’s menu online, so print it out and plan for what days your kid wants to buy lunch vs. pack their own.
Schedules / Bedtimes
Work your way up to it – A week or two before school starts, have your kid start going to bed a little earlier each night than their “summer bedtime” (if this is not a thing in your house, congratulations. For the rest of you, keep reading).
Re-establish your morning routine – Whether it’s getting dressed and brushing teeth before breakfast, or vice-versa, stick with whatever routine works for your family, and start utilizing it well before the first day. If you are sending your first kid off to school and don’t have a routine (yet), it’s a great time to establish one!
Be cautious – Avoid the temptation to load up the extracurricular schedule right away. Sometimes this can’t be helped due to set sports schedules and such, but maybe don’t sign them up for piano lessons or other activities that have ongoing enrollment until you have a better picture of what your availability looks like.
Back-to-School Time Savers
Laying out clothes the night before …
Packing lunches the night before …
Gathering up after school/evening activity gear the night before …
Checking homework and signing permission slips the night before …
You see where I’m going with this, right???
First Day of School
If you’re a “first day of school” sign or picture mom, put some thought into this BEFORE the first morning of school! You don’t want to be troubleshooting your printer or filling out their favorite foods on the chalkboard when you’re running behind and tensions are already high.
The first day of school is “new” enough on its own, so try not to add to it by throwing in any wildcards with their lunch, clothing, routine, activities, etc. (I vividly recall wearing a brand new pair of trendy shoes to the first day of middle school only to discover they gave me horrible blisters and had to limp around the entire day.)
And for the love of bottomless mimosas, take Jen Hatmaker’s advice for the first weekend of school!