The summer is almost over and it’s time to get ready for school again. Although I’ll miss all the extra time with my kiddos and sleeping in a little later, I’m looking forward to getting back on a regular schedule.
Here are some back-to-school tips to help you and your little ones ease back into your school routine:
During the summer, the sun is still bright and shining at our usual 8:00 bedtime hour. “But mom, why are we going to bed when the sun is still up??” -- is what my kids would say. So naturally, we moved our bedtimes back a little later. But now that school is starting again, I try to push bedtimes up a few minutes earlier each day. I’d start with 8:50 PM the first night and then 8:40 PM the next night until I’m back onto the 8:00 PM bedtime. I’d recommend starting this process at least a week or two in advance, so the transition feels more natural.
I’d much rather shop online than to go to the store with two little kids in tow. So, I try to set a reminder to create a shopping list for all the supplies and clothes my kids need for school and after-school activities. Creating a shopping list in advance and ordering as possible online can help save a lot of time.
If you plan to prepare lunches for your kids, it helps to have a meal calendar created ahead of time. It also helps to simplify your grocery list so that you’re not over-buying food. I usually like to plan 1-2 weeks of meals for every day of the week – which includes a lunch entrée, a fruit, a snack and a water bottle. My older daughter likes to provide her input, so I’ll run my meal plan by her for any edits. If your child prefers a school lunch, you can review the school’s lunch menu with your child in advance.
Coordinating after-school activities for 1 or more children can be a challenging feat. I like to draw up a monthly calendar with all of my kids’ activities each day for the entire family to see. It helps to ensure all family members are on the same page, so we can coordinate pick ups/drop offs and other personal events. If you’d rather not use a physical calendar, there are plenty of apps and online products available that offer family calendar sharing.
I like to have a little workstation set up for each child so they have their own writing utensils, paper, and other crafts/supplies they need to study or do homework. As you know, I’m also committed to teaching my kids Mandarin Chinese (and my kids are not enrolled in a Chinese preschool or language immersion school). So, I keep all their Jamma Jango language learning program materials (Chinese flashcards, Chinese language video, activity book, stickers, etc.) at their desk at home. This ensures I have all the learning materials I need at my fingertips. I also set aside special time to focus on my childrens’ foreign language learning and post it on our monthly activity calendar.
During the days leading up to the first day of school, I start reminding the kids that school will be starting back up again soon. I’ll also remind them what it means to go back to school. I’ll mention things like…”do you remember where to wait for the school bus in the mornings?”; “what kind of lunches do you want to eat in school?”; “are you looking forward to seeing your old teacher and meeting your new one?” Bringing up these scenarios helps them know what to expect when school starts again. It also reminds me what I need to prepare for the kids to transition back to school and how my daily schedule will be impacted.
To avoid a stressful morning on the first day of school, I like to make sure I’ve packed my kids’ backpacks with all their essentials the night before. I also work with the kids to plan out their outfits and get their socks/shoes ready. I use separate backpacks or duffel bags for their after-school activities so I’m not frantically searching for ballet shoes or piano books at the last minute.
Preparing in advance has always helped me feel organized and ready to take on the new school season. What other ways have you used to get your kids ready for school? I hope your transition back to school is as smooth as possible!!