Back to School Guide for Parents

Some people love it, some people hate it…but inevitably, it is time to go back to school. After months of no alarm clocks, endless playdates and sleepovers, less- structured days at home and camps, snacks galore, and more, it is time to get back to that school-day routine. For some, this is a time of great excitement and anticipation. For others, it can be a time of nervousness and anxiety. For many, it is both. We've put together 10 ways you can ease back into your daily routine and help your child(ren) get ready to go back to school!

1. Beat Bedtime Battles

We all know that getting on that school-year sleep schedule can be one of the hardest parts of heading back into the classroom. Experts suggest that instead of jumping right back into your old routine the night before, build up incrementally over time. Start small with going to bed 10-20 minutes earlier and adding a bit of routine such as laying out clothes or a bedtime story for a week and then slowly work back to the regular routine.

2. Check the Closets

Did your child grow 2 inches over the break? Do those shoes barely fit? Even though we all know our children grow like weeds, it is easy to get so wrapped up in summer plans that we forget to size-check and replenish their wardrobes. It can oftentimes be a tradition to do the annual back to school shopping for specific items, but don't skimp out on everyday essentials such as socks, underwear, undershirts, etc. Also, make sure to check your school's dress code, as there are often changes made during the summer months.

3. Organize Spaces

Don't wait until the school year is in full swing to figure out where different items will go and where homework will take place. Organize closets so your child can easily find school clothes vs. home clothes, make sure your child has a nice and quiet place to complete school work, and come up with a system for where shoes, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. will be stored. For more tips on this, read one of our past blogs on organizing for success.

4. Read School Notifications

Just because your child might not be in the school building doesn't mean there isn't a lot going on! Lots of changes and updates happen during the summer months. Make sure to check your email, spam, and mailbox for important notifications, updates, and instructions that pertain to back to school and the upcoming school year. Feel like you should be seeing more than you are? Check with the school to make sure your email address is included on the Listserv.

5. Attend Necessary Orientations

One of those notifications will most likely be about a back to school night or orientation. Although other obligations might prevent you from attending, if at all possible, try to be present at these events. Not only does it give you the opportunity to see your child's classroom and meet their new teacher, seeing their new space, classmates, and teacher can ease a lot of anxieties for worried children.

6. Schedule Playdates

After you have found out who is in your child's new class, you might consider scheduling a few play dates with classmates to help your child feel more comfortable upon returning. If your child is disappointed that their best friend isn't in their new room, remind them of the wonderful opportunities that can arise from making new friendships. If possible, try to reach out to new students who might not have existing bonds within the school.

7. Get Supplies, But Not Prematurely

Some of the simplest joys in life come from opening that brand new pack of crayons or pencils. Shopping for school supplies can be a great way to prepare and build excitement for returning. While it's always smart and fun to have a few items, hold off on most of your buying until after you receive the list from your child's teacher. It's also important to note that oftentimes the generic lists provided by stores are not what will be needed for your child's specific classroom.

8. Plan Lunches and Activity Schedules

The week before school starts, make sure to talk about lunch plans. Will your child be bringing lunch from home, buying at school, or both? If you plan to make lunches from home, have fun building some menu items and shopping for delicious meals and treats. It's also good to start planning out any after school activities. A visible weekly or monthly calendar can help ease anxiety and keep your child more organized and in the know. 

9. Make Time to Talk 

While it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this time of year, make sure you take time to talk to your child about how they felt their summer went, what hopes and dreams they have for themselves for the school year, what they're looking forward to most, and what is worrying them.

10. Revel in the Last Days of Summer 

Most importantly, make sure you are taking enough time to slow down and soak in the last rays and days of summer. It can be nice to not overschedule the time leading up to the return to school. Instead, enjoy quiet evenings taking walks, catching fireflies, and slurping down a delicious ice cream cone before it melts from the waning hours of summer heat. 

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