Seven Back to School Tips for Parents
Writer / Aimee MacArthur
It’s that time of year again. School is starting and families are slowing getting back to new routines. There is a lot to do in a short period of time and it can be stressful. Believe me, it doesn’t have to be. Here are seven tips to help parents get ready for a new school year. You can do it! We’ve got this!
Clean Out Closets
Who doesn’t love a closet purge? Yes, it can take some time, but it can be refreshing to get rid of things and organize. I always feel better with less stuff around the house. Schedule a day at least a few weeks before school starts to go through your kids’ closets. Take everything out of closets, dressers and storage so you can see what there is to sort through. Ask your kids to help by taking time to try on clothes, shoes and other accessories.
Decide what to keep, repair, and give away to friends and family or donate. When you’re finished, organize clothes, shoes and accessories you plan to keep for each kid. Enlist your kids’ help to reorganize their closets. Reward your kids with a movie night or other special treat for their help in this process.
Inventory School Supplies
I’ve always loved to shop for school supplies. I admit I tend to buy way too much or repurchase what I already have on hand. In order to save time and money, gather and organize school supplies. Check to see if your kids have any unused supplies from last year that can be used this school year. See what needs to be kept, tossed or donated. Ask your kids to help you.
Make a Master List and Go Shopping
Keep a list of what you need to buy for each kid. I have a friend who separates the list by kid and what each kid needs. Plan to set a certain amount to spend per kid. My friend also lets her kids buy something on their wish list (a pair of shoes or an item of clothing) at their favorite store. This is an extra-special reward for help with organizing closets.
You can also save time and money by purchasing what you can online. When you go shopping at a store, try to go in the morning or early evening, when the stores are less crowded.
Set aside time to schedule dentist and doctor appointments. It is important to make sure physicals and immunizations are updated for each kid. If your kids are playing sports this school year, make sure to bring sports physical forms to the doctor appointment so they can be completed at the office.
It’s also a good time to make haircut appointments. A new haircut, even it’s a trim, is a fun experience and a way to boost a kid’s self-confidence.
Communicate With Your Kids About the New Schedule
Hold a family meeting and go over the kids’ new schedules for transportation such as bus and school pickup and drop-off, and carpools. Talk with your kids about your expectations for what you would like them to do to get ready for school each day. Think about what each kid is able to do and what is age-appropriate. You might ask your kids to prepare their own lunches and snacks, and lay out clothes and backpacks, the night before. Discuss what will work best for each kid and your family.
A friend of mine uses a family chore chart and reward system displayed in the kitchen with assigned tasks so each kid knows what is expected. This system may not work for everyone, and that’s OK. You will find what works best through trial and error.
If your kids have phones, set up a group text so the family can easily communicate and is aware of changing schedules. Make sure all family numbers and emergency numbers are set up in each kid’s phone. A family I know also recommends sharing a family calendar on Google or another application.
Celebrate the New School Year
A new school year is a reason for celebration. Have a dinner at home or at a restaurant to celebrate with the entire family. Congratulate your kids on their hard work getting ready for school and thank them for all of their help. Discuss what everyone in the family is looking forward to, and try to ease any nerves your kids might have about a new school year. It is a time to be positive and help to encourage your kids for a successful school year. Think positive.
I tend to overthink and worry about what I did not get completed. I try and remind myself that not everything will get done, and that’s OK. No one is perfect. Focus on what absolutely has to be done before school starts. If you do need some help, don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members to pitch in when they can.