It's hard to believe that it's back to school time already! I, like most moms, am ready for my kids to go back to a normal routine. Then again, I don't think my boys are as eager. They have thoroughly enjoyed staying up past their bed time, sleeping in and focusing on swimming and playing instead of math and reading.
I've learned that half the battle in getting kids back to school is the prep you do the week leading up to it. The other half is remaining organized and prepared once the school year starts.
Here are a few tips to prepare for the back to school battle:
Preparing For Battle: 1 Week Prior
1. Finally, a Reason to Put Them to Bed Early
You know you have been waiting all summer to finally start enforcing bed time again! In the week leading up to school, begin following the same routine that your child will be following during the school year. Adhere to bed/wakeup times and have them dressed, fed and ready to go at the time you would be heading out the door to school. If you start getting them into the swing of things before the start of school, it will make that first day and week a lot less painful!
2. Dust Off That Thinking Cap
Time to go back to the A, B, Cs and 1, 2, 3s! Odds are your child has been more focused on fun than learning this summer. Start reintroducing concepts and subjects they will be studying in school. Set aside reading time, review math drills, and begin to transition back into school mode. In our household, we've dusted off the library card and math workbooks and the boys are surprisingly okay with it!
3. Stop Before You Shop
I used to love back to school shopping as a child, but don't look forward to it quite as much as a parent! Before you go on a shopping spree, have a plan. Most schools will provide a list of supplies you need. Review the recommended items with your child and create a shopping list together. Of course, they will still try and talk you into purchasing half of the store, but its easier to say no if you have agreed on your list ahead of time! Most stores and sites have amazing back to school sales so do a little research beforehand.
Let the Games Begin: Once School Starts
1. Painful Nights = Painless Mornings
"Prepare the night before" has become my back to school mantra! It makes mornings run a little bit smoother. There is nothing worse than the battle over what to wear when you are trying to get out the door. Before your child goes to bed, have them pick out their clothes. I've found that pairing outfits together when I put laundry away has been helpful in the daily "what to wear" battle. Some moms even store paired outfits in ziplock bags to narrow down the options for their kids. This mantra holds true when it comes to meal planning as well. Put together school lunches in the evening, and have cereal boxes and bowls on the table ready for breakfast, so all your child has to do is add milk!
2. Let It Go!
You may have forgotten, but will soon be reminded, of the influx of paper that overtakes your home once the school year begins. One of my goals for this school year is to review the paper pile on a nightly basis. Last year, I missed one too many self-imposed deadlines and our dining table was buried under a stack of papers for the majority of the year! Have a system in place for the paper that stay home and the paper that goes back to school. And, don't be afraid to throw things away! Maintain a keepsake box of those must-keep pictures, write-ups, and report cards, and take Elsa's advice regarding the rest and "let it go!"
Anjali Varma is "The Modern Mompreneur", her site and YouTube channel provide entrepreneurship, lifestyle, and parenting tips for the modern mom. She is also the owner of Kidville Bethesda, an enrichment facility that offers classes, retail, haircuts, and birthday parties for newborns - 6 years old.