Back to School is an exciting time for our kids, but it can be a little (if not a lot) stressful for parents. Shopping lists, new clothes, working out transportation, and forms that need to be signed are only the beginning. Anything that can make life easier is a big help. I decided to go straight to the source — teachers! — to ask for their best Back to School tips to make it as smooth and fun for everyone as possible. Having been a teacher, I will add the first tip:
1. Simplify! Plan your shopping trip and make a big, fun event for the family. It’s so much easier if you can get your shopping done all in one place. We decided to go to Walmart, which was a great choice because I was not only able to find all my daughter’s school supplies that she’ll need for starting kindergarten, but I was able to stock up on some household items that will last until well after the hectic Back to School routine is underway. These included Viva, Kleenex, and Scott, which currently have Double Box Tops for Education to help your school!
2. Have a system for collecting your Box Tops for Education. Everybody loves Box Tops! Yet they are small and a little hard to keep up with. Worse, sometimes we forget to clip them before tossing the boxes. Teacher Laura Roye has a solution: “I keep scissors and a container to hold those Box Tops next to the recycle bin so it’s easy (and I actually remember) to clip them.” What a great idea!
3. Start your bedtime and morning routine now. Get established with a regular bedtime and wake-up time that is in sync with the school day before school starts, that way, you and your kids won’t be in for a rude awakening when they can’t wake up on time before the first day of school. Teacher Linda Scott says, “Establishing a routine is very important, so that, once in school, a child expects routines to take place there too. Those that are used to things happening regularly adjust much better.”
4. Do it the night before! Laura adds, “Get as much done at night as possible to make the mornings go smoothly. I pack lunches, lay out clothes, and check planners/notes from their teacher before bedtime. Who knows what random chaos the day will bring, at least those basics are done!” Teacher Vicky Miller adds, “Have their backpack loaded by the door ready to go. It makes for a less hectic morning when you don’t have to find a missing shoe or something they need for school.”
5. Make it a game! Have a picky dresser? Play “mix-and-match” to put together an outfit your child will be happy to wear the next day. Have them help make their lunch with food in fun shapes using cookie cutters. Have a race to see who can get his/her backpack ready the fastest.
6. Prepare your child by talking to them. Says teacher Marilyn Ivy, “Teach your child his/her teacher’s name so that he never calls her/him ‘Miss’ or ‘Mister.’ Talk to your child about any new expectations as your child moves from grade to grade.”
7. Don’t forget breakfast! Marilyn adds, “Eat a healthy breakfast with protein or oatmeal that will carry them until lunchtime.” It’s harder for kids to learn when they are hungry.
8. Treat the teacher well! Laura says: “Be generous to your student’s teacher…whether with supplies, volunteer time, patience, or prayers. We want help to raise your child to be a passionate, innovative citizen. We’re taking risks and hoping for amazing results. We want to help them set, meet, and surpass their goals. We want to inspire. Sometimes we make mistakes, get busy, or are just plain tired…but we care about your child and want to make a positive difference in their lives!”
9. Ahead of time, write out enough thoughtful notes to put one in your child’s lunch box each day for the week.
10. Plan menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so that you can shop accordingly. You’ll save money this way to by not buying things you don’t need. Another school year is almost here (if not already begun). Take a deep breath–you can do this! Thank you to teachers Laura Roye, Marilyn Ivy, Linda Scott, Vicky Miller, and Peggy Wilson for contributing these amazing Back to School tips!
Many thanks to Andee Collard for use of the apple photo (more details on the photo can be found here).