We had a seamless first day of school. But after that we had a few bumpy days within the first two weeks: crying, accidents, wanting to stay home with mommy. I’ve even had a few bumpy days myself as a mom.
Making Back to School Easier for the Kids
- Re-establish a bedtime routine. After the long days of summer and being on different schedules depending on the day or week, it’s hard to consistently get up early in the mornings for school. We try for a 7:00 p.m. bedtime, which is tough since the skies are still bright until 8 and the kids want to stay up and play, but everyone is happier the next morning.
- Read back-to-school books and do back-to-school crafts together. (Check out the links below for 500+ ideas).
- Give each child one new special back-to-school item. It doesn’t have to be a big ticket item – just something that’s theirs and theirs alone and marks the occasion. It could be a special pencil holder, a new lunchbox or backpack, a cool set of pens, or fun notebooks or folders.
This year we got to try out these supercute Jansport backpacks from Staples.
I totally remember using Jansport backpacks as a kid and they’re just as lightweight and well put together as they were back then, except they come in much more fun designs instead of just the basic colors. They wipe clean easily and the zippers are sturdy. For preschoolers and pre-kindergarteners, the kid-size is a little big, but M & S still love them. We’ve loaded ours up with our lunch boxes and bags (the kids between them have two lunchboxes and three snack bags they have to bring to school!) and school napsheets and spare clothes. They’re also perfect for camping and our overnight trips and lugging our swimming, soccer, and dance gear around, too.
Making Back to School Easier for Mom
- Pack school lunches the night before. There are links to great ideas at the bottom of this post. This is probably my BIGGEST stress about school. I have non-sandwich eaters and one picky eater with food allergies, so figuring out how to get enough nutritious calories into their bellies during the day can sometimes melt my brain in the morning.
- Lay out clothes the night before – yours, not just the kids’. Deciding what to wear in the morning tacks on unnecessary minutes to your morning routine.
- Create school folders for each child. It can be electronic or the old school paper file folder system, but it will help you keep track of homework, permission slips, deadlines, receipts, and anything else you need to remember on a child-by-child basis.
Making Back to School Easier for the Family
- Create a visual calendar. Having the family schedule up for everyone to see and read – including your pre-readers – lets everyone know what to expect for the upcoming week. Let the kids help create or decorate the activities on the next week’s calendar so they feel like they have some control over their schedule, too.
- Pick one day mid-week for a special activity. Waiting until Saturday for family fun is too long for everyone. Maybe a special trip to the park on Monday right after school or bake treats/go out for ice cream on Tuesday after soccer practice. Try Puzzle Night on Wednesday or Movie Night on Thursday.
- Take one thing off your plate. Give yourself permission to blow off an errand, not cook dinner from scratch, or cancel an invitation/not return a message at least once per week. We all need that extra cushion of time and mental relief to gear us up for the next day or activity, so be good to yourself and let one thing out of your 50-item to do list slide!
How has your transition back to school been? What’s your best back-to-school tip? Share it in the comments!
For more inspiration, check out these great resources:
- Reading Confetti’s own roundup and Kids’ Co-op linky of 100+ Back to School Ideas.
- 50+ Back to School Traditions from a back-to-school linky hosted by JDaniel4’s Mom.
- Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails’ 10 Back-to-School Books Kids Love, plus Mama Pea Pod’s round up of Back to School Books, and for you tech families, iGameMom has 10 Free Book Apps for Preschool Kids.
- 30 Days of Lunchbox Recipes: No Repeats from Peanut Blossom.
Dislosure: We received the two Jansport backpacks shown above from Staples for review. As always, all opinions are our own.