I know, I know… You don’t want to think about the cranky kids who don’t want to get out of bed, the last minute dispersing of school supplies, the mad dash to get some kind of lunch pulled together. Ugh! It’s more than you can bear.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I promise, if you spend a little bit of time thinking and preparing now that first day (and week) of school can be the best, most relaxing first day of school ever. To have a successful first day of school, try these tips:
- Shop early! August is the second biggest sales month for clothing. Go through closets to determine what items your kids need for school, then hit the sales.
- Not sure what school supplies your child needs? Most schools now post supply lists online for your convenience.
- Double check your medical records and schedule appointments for athletic physicals and vaccine updates.
- Collect your current insurance info and put it in an easy-to-find spot. This year I also started keeping photos of insurance cards in my phone so that I always have those numbers available for every. Single. Permission slip.
- Create a family command center; a central location with a family calendar, the school lunch menu, medical and insurance information, pens and scratch paper, an in and out box, scissors, tape, rubber bands, paperclips, etc.
- Make space for a morning launch pad. This is the place for coats, shoes, backpacks, and papers that need to be returned to school. You may find it helpful to put your launch pad in the same room as your family command center.
- Create a homework station. For younger children it’s best to place your homework station in a central room of the house where you spend your time, like the kitchen. That way you’re available to help with homework while cooking dinner. Older kids would probably prefer a space further away from distractions caused by other members of the family, like in his or her bedroom. Make sure it’s a space with lots of light, a hard writing surface, and lots of supplies.
- Start moving up bedtimes a few weeks before school starts. Make sure to address any “but it’s still light out” issues early, that way you’ll know ahead of time if you need to invest in those black out curtains.
- Reevaluate your bedtime routine. Ours starts after dinner and follows the 3 B’s: Baths (wash self, dress for bed, brush teeth, go pee). Books (everyone is read to), Bed (prayers and lights out). Studies show that children who have a good bedtime routine fall asleep faster and sleep better overall. The specifics are less important than the consistency, so create a simple plan that you can stick with.
- Start practicing your morning routine. Have your children get up, get dressed, and eat breakfast within the first hour of their day. Schedule a few morning outings in the days before school starts so that everyone starts getting used to leaving the house in the morning.
- Create your school day schedule. Schedule time for carpool, homework, play, sports and activities, and dinner. Have a weekly at-a-glance view to keep yourself and your family on track.
- Move meal and snack times to times your kids will be eating at school. Young tummies often have trouble with this transition. Give them plenty of time to adjust.
- Start mentally preparing your kids. Talk about how many days of summer are left, and remind them of the friends they’ll soon see at school to get them excited to go back. Give them some time every day for learning activities, whether it’s reading, playing math games, or even just coloring.
Go ahead and sit back and enjoy that awesome first day of school, because you nailed it! Treat yourself to a cup of coffee after drop-off, you deserve it!