Part 1 – Before the School Year Begins

It’s been a wonderful summer…..swimming and day camps, beach trips and movie nights, no homework and lazy Saturday mornings. But a new school year is fast approaching; and with it comes after school sports and activities, potentially after school care, homework and lunch packing. Some of you may be thrilled to get the kids back into their school routine, while others may dread it. Whichever side you land on, here are some simple steps to make the transition much easier on the whole family. Part 1 of this Series focuses on what you should do a few weeks before the school year begins.

Get Your Zzzzzzz’s and Set Your Alarms

For many families, the summer sleep routines are drastically different than during the school year. If your family falls into this camp, don’t wait to re-establish sleep schedules the first day of school. Give yourself a solid 10 days to transition the kids (and maybe yourself!) into a consistent bedtime and morning routine. If bedtimes have become a lot more lax, slowly move bedtime back a half hour each night until you reach their normal bedtime. Use this same approach in the mornings. For the smoothest transition, have an established routine in place at least 4 to 5 days before school begins.

Put it on ‘Paper’

Regardless of what tool you use, get all important dates ‘written’ down (and if you don’t currently use a time management tool, check out my blog post ‘Well Organized Time’). A new school years brings a lot of communication on the upcoming year, like holiday schedules and teacher workdays, annual fundraisers and school and classroom events. The same applies to sports and after school activities; so when you get the practice and game schedule, ‘write’ it all down….immediately. Putting these events into your schedule up front will ensure you are not scrambling for child care on teacher workdays you had no idea were coming, stressing about a work commitment that conflicts with a major school event your child would be devastated for you to miss, running around Sunday night like a maniac looking for the perfect teacher appreciation gifts or frequently bringing your child to after school activities late. It also gives you the freedom to throw out the paper reminders or move the email out of your inbox and into another recordkeeping folder. Save yourself the stress and put it on the books well in advance.

And You Need 20 Glue Sticks, Why?

Unless you are a first time Kindergarten parent, you are quite familiar with the lengthy (and sometimes bizarre) school supply list. It’s a grade-by-grade, his and hers, list of the supplies your kid needs to show up with on the first day of school and it is one whopper of a list. If you have the luxury of ordering the upcoming year’s school supplies through a vendor provided by the school, then do it! You literally go online, log in with the school provided code, select the grade and sex of your child, hit purchase and Booyah – the complete box of supplies will be sitting on your child’s desk the first day of school. No frenzied Target shopping, no tears because the Disney Princess or latest Superhero notebooks were out of stock. Buy your child a cute backpack and pencil case and call it day my friends. My oldest could quite possibly be the pickiest kid on the planet and he hasn’t batted an eye at the generic supply box. It is a lifesaver.

If, however, you do not have this option, then you are going to have to be brave and go head to head with the school supply aisles. Let’s face it, as Moms (or Dads or anyone tasked with the dreaded school supply list), we are not at our finest during back to school shopping, so the one and only tip I have for you is……DO.IT.EARLY.

Good luck fellow parents. Have your tissues and/or champagne bottles ready; it’s going to be a great year.

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