This is the first year I have a child going “Back to School.” We’ve had the preschool “Back to School” experience before, but I feel like going back to school in the public system is an entirely different beast. This school is bigger with more people to interact with on a daily basis. And, transitions are tough for my son. He adored his kindergarten teacher and it took him a few months to really be comfortable at school. So, even though I’m looking forward to school starting back up, I’m a little worried about transitioning from summer. Here are a few things I’m doing to help get back into the swing of things around here and, hopefully, ease our transition back into the school year.
Supply Shopping Early
I’m the “Right on Top of Things” type of mom. As soon as the supply lists are out, I’m out and about scouting for good deals and slowly curating our pile of supplies. This takes the pressure off of me to make sure my son and daughter have everything they need for school. I know I’ll end up having to purchase a few more things once school starts, but I can rest easier knowing the bulk of my shopping is done. And, because I know I’ll end up having to label a bunch of stuff, I can enlist my son’s help to do so. This helps him get excited about going back to school and allows him to take some ownership over his supplies.
Ease Back into a School Year Routine
During the school year, both of my kids are in bed between 7:00 – 7:30. We’ve definitely let that slide a lot during the summer. Our 7:30 bedtime quickly goes out the door with evening get-togethers and my son’s late night reading obsession. This does not necessarily mean he wakes up later… which makes for a very tired and grumpy little guy. About a week and a half before school starts we will start re-establishing his sleep routine by pushing back bedtime and providing ample time for him to read before falling asleep.
We’ve definitely slacked off of the extracurricular activities (like Tae Kwon Do classes) that our son does during the school year. At the beginning of August, we will start to attend activities on a regular basis – along with household responsibilities.
A few weeks before school begins, I start to go through the kids’ closets and shoes. We donate or consign clothes and shoes that don’t fit. Then, we make a list of items we need to purchase. Thankfully, both of our kids don’t change sizes every six months so most of their clothes will still fit them well into the school year. I usually hit up the consignment events and stores in September to stock up on Fall/Winter clothing if needed.
Another way we get organized is to gather all of our lunch making supplies into one area of the kitchen. My son brings his lunch to school every day since he has a gluten sensitivity and my daughter brings lunch the days to stays at preschool a little later. I make sure we have containers, water bottles, and lunch boxes in a central area for both of them to access easily.
Lastly, I love a good old-fashioned paper planner. My favorite is definitely the LifePlanner by Erin Condren because I can customize it and it’s durable. I know several other mommas that love the Plum Paper Designs and the Day Designer planners. Investing in a good planner that you will actually use is well worth it! I’ve already written in school holidays, early release days and important school meetings so that I don’t commit to other things those days. Grab a set of erasable pens and you’re set for the year!
Are you a momma that likes to make a big deal about the first day of school? If so, make sure you get your sign printed out and outfits in order! I enjoy making the signs for my kiddos and try to have an outfit picked out at least a week before school starts. Don’t forget to think about coordinating shoes, hair accessories, haircuts, etc.
Decide on Transportation
Will your kid be a bus rider? Or walk/ride bike home? Is there a neighborhood carpool you can join? Or will you be hanging out in the pickup line? The school can give you information about the bus number your child will ride. Most schools require students to have an ID for their specific bus. Double check what day your school will have these IDs taken and made. Collect phone numbers from carpooling mommas and organize a pickup/dropoff schedule. Make sure your child knows what he/she is doing before school starts to ease any anxiety about the first day.
Calming Their Nerves
My son and I have already started talking about the school year. We have no idea who his teacher will be or what friends will be in his class yet. So, instead, we talk about what he might learn this year, his favorite subject, seeing his friends, and not being the little fish in the big pond this year. Last year we picked up the book Kindergarten, Here I come by D.J Steinberg and Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt (Usborne Books). Both books helped my son work through some pretty big thoughts and feelings he was having about starting kindergarten. This year I’ve purchased First Grade, Here I’ve Come, First Grade Jitters, and The Night Before First Grade for my little guy. Of course, these are very grade-specific, so check out B&N or Amazon for books that are more appropriate for your kiddos!
I’m sure I’m forgetting about gazillion other things I do to get ready for the school year! What do you do to get your family ready for back to school?