Back to School Tips & Tricks

back to school tips and tricks

Most columns about this topic are about what to buy (backpacks, writing utensils, lunch bags, clothes, new hairstyles, etc.) – yet, what about the reality of Back to School for parents?

Here’s a few things that might be considered essential for all parents (and some for kids too) that aren’t your normal ‘everyday’ back to school tips and tricks:

Decorating Tips for Parents Sending Kids Back to School Again

Need ideas on what to do with the ‘school desk’ area in your kitchen, living room, dining room, or even bedroom? Here’s your chance to claim back that space and hope that it never has to go back to a school desk again! Did you buy a new desk? Turn it into a craft desk/area – fill it with supplies for whatever crafts you and/or your kids enjoy. Did ‘school’ at home take over your dining or living room? Bring the lazy boy chair back out (or buy a new one if you didn’t have one before), put the comfy oversized pillows back on your furniture now that it doesn’t need to act as a part-time desk anymore – use it for what you bought it for! If you made an area in your child’s bedroom (or yours) for them to work at while attending virtual school – turn it into a quiet area for reading or journaling and start a new practice of reading and/or journaling with your kids and partners. You also might need to leave a small space for homework each night/day – so keep that in mind when putting things back together:-)

Clothes/Uniforms

Yes, you do need to buy backpacks, lunch containers, clothes, uniforms, etc. – yet, you also need to re-outfit yourself too as likely, you are also returning to live work or school situations. So it’s likely your wardrobe will need an update too. So make the shopping experience a family one where you all search for cool new outfits to wear back to school and back to work. And be sure to throw in a few fun things to yours and the kids’ wardrobes, because why not?

Organize and/or Buy School Supplies

Likely, you have already accumulated a good supply of the basics: pens, pencils, paper, pads, etc. – yet maybe you need an update and spruce up the school supplies you might already have. 

Teacher Gifts

Now that you have a good idea of what Teachers deal with daily (after a year and a half of home or hybrid school with YOU being the parent and the teacher:-), find a cool little trinket to let them know how critical they are! 

Practice Back to School Routines

Carpools, after-school activities calendars, chore charts/responsibilities – all of these will be changing dramatically in the coming weeks. Why not make an adventure out of the routine? You could arrange a practice run where you make it an adventure and possibly a challenge. Who can get ready the quickest? Make the morning routine a treasure hunt and place a snack or trinket at each stop/station and do this on a weekend day (Saturday or Sunday), and the prize could be a trip to the park, the zoo, a friend’s house, or something like that.

New Calendar

Make or get a big calendar so everyone can add/change and see at all times. Perhaps a chalkboard or whiteboard, or a fun calendar that everyone can add or change and access. This gets everyone involved, and all can participate in the fun of putting together the schedule that involves: parents dropping off/picking up kids, kids’ sports/after-school activities, family events, school events, etc. And be sure to add in the fun things each day, like walking the dog, feeding the cat, family walks/events, etc.

Declutter the House so Everything is Organized and Easy to Find

Especially for the first day! You can make this a family event where each person has their own room and a small portion of the shared areas of the house, like the kitchen drawers, the living room cabinets/shelves, the bathroom cupboards, etc. If everyone participates, everyone knows where everything is, and there are fewer surprises on the first day of school.

back to school tips and tricks

And last but not least, find a way to slip in some moments of rest, relaxation, meditation, exercise, and ‘together time’ for the family that can be scheduled weekly. One thought is to schedule a family discussion topic for each week. For example, choose a word, phrase, or positive quote and write it on a piece of paper, chalkboard, whiteboard, or whatever works for you. Some ideas: compassion, empathy, inclusion, diversity, community, positivity, live a good life by being good, etc. And at the end of each day or week, have a discussion about the topic and how and/or if the topic affected your week or directed your week in any way. For younger children, writing the word or topic down and then following up with a lesson on what the word or topic means and then leaving it open for discussion. You could also make a game out of it and see if everyone could use the word in a sentence or say the quote in the appropriate situation throughout the week.

Going back to school this year will be a challenge for everyone, and making it, a fun, coordinated, family event can take some of the anxiety and stress out of the process.

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