Since school starts next week for my boys, I thought I’d share five back to school tips that I have found particularly helpful.
Tip #1: Get into the swing of things now
If you’re like me, you’ve let your kids sleep in until 8 am and get dressed around 10 am all summer long. Which is fine right up until the first day of school when the kids need to be up and dressed by 6:45 and out the door by 7:30. So this year I have instituted a “Going Back to School” schedule. The whole family is starting their day just as if school had already started. That means earlier bed times and wake ups, beds made, dressed, fed and ready to face the day by 7:30 am. At least I can get the grumbling out of the way now instead of on the first day of school.
Tip #2 Plan out those lunch menus
I’ve blogged about menu planning before but I think it’s important enough to repeat here. Sit down with your kids and plan out a couple weeks worth of lunch menus which all of you can live with. And, if your child packs his or her own lunch, they have a guide to what to bring for lunch on any particular day. It really nips the whole “But I didn’t know what to make so I took candy instead” argument in the bud.
Tip #3: Go to Back to School Night
Even if you are exhausted from a long day at work, the kids are cranky, and it’s pouring rain/sunny and 150 degrees. Everyone is nervous about that first day of school and it isn’t just limited to your kids.
The teacher is getting a whole new set of children in the classroom, 5 year olds are heading to a new phase of their life, and you need to get a feel for the classroom and teacher. So, it’s a good thing to meet & greet before that first day of school.
Tip #4: Create a Central Calendar
Everyone in the family has a list of activities that come in to the house through a number of ways, i.e. through papers coming home from school, emails from colleagues, party invitations sent in the mail. The best way to coordinate schedules is to use a central calendar. There are literally hundres of calendars available through stores and the Internet for you to use. Pick one and post it where everyone can see it (even the 3 foot tall kindergartner!).
Tip #5: Spend Time With Your Kids
It will be all too soon that they are gone all day and involved in their own lives once school starts. While you, and I, may look forward to that, the excitement wears off pretty quickly. So, take the time now to let your kids know that you love them and that you are there for them (no matter what happens). Enjoy it becuase childhood doesn’t last forever.