As the commercial goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” Back to school can be exciting, liberating and fun — or, if you’re not prepared, it can be a major stresser. Getting organized now will help you and your kids start strong and set the tone for a best-in-class year ahead.
1. Get back on your sleep schedule, NOW. There’s nothing quite like a summer send off with a pool party that ends at midnight and you have to be up at 6am to catch the bus. Take the week before school starts and get serious about a firm bed-time and wake-up time. It’s not easy, but oh-so-worth it when the alarm goes off on day one.
2. Shop for School Supplies, Together. The togetherness of shopping gives you a chance to have a relaxed conversation about the excitement and trepidation concerning the year ahead. It also gives your children a chance to show their own personality and invest in the year by choosing their own supplies. Buh-bye meltdown over the wrong color folder or the uncool lunch box you bought.
3. Fill out the forms. And we don’t mean the night before. You want to set a good example for your kids by being on top of paperwork yourself. Get a folder for papers you have to return on the first day and make sure you have copies of all immunizations and other records you may need.
4. Shop for school clothes early. The earlier you shop, the less drama and less chance of sizes being sold out. Take stock of what you have before you go and make a list of must-haves. For a built-in teaching moment, make a pact to donate old and outgrown clothing before you bring anything new into the house. Your kids will learn a good habit of donating and learn that not having old items around frees your mind and physical space for new things.
5. Make a plan for meal time. The end of summer is time to establish the eating habits that will take you through the school year as well. Plan as many nights as you can for family meals even if you have to pick up takeout— the consistency will help you bond and open the channels to good communication. Conversations that happen at the dinner table are precious moments. Don’t miss this powerful time of creating a routine with benefits far beyond nutritional value.