Best Back-to-School Hacks for Parents
The first day of school is a day that parents have been looking forward to and most kids have been dreading. But, as any parent knows, it’s just as much work for you as the kids preparing for the big day. That’s why these tips and tricks are like a cheat sheet (only the good kind) to help you with that transition.
- Supply list
If your child’s teacher didn’t provide a supply list, there are plenty of them online for every grade.
- Ease back into a healthy bedtime routine
Ease back into the routine of waking up early for school starting at least two weeks before the actual first day of school. Wake up late sleepers a little earlier each day as summer vacation comes to an end. If children have been staying up late every night in the summer, it will not be easy going to sleep early the night before school starts. Routines are key for children, especially when it comes to sleep. Enforcing an hour of quiet time before bed, which includes a no-electronics rule, can help children get into a healthy bedtime routine. Reading is a good way to help children wind down without using their devices. Give children their own alarm clock, and more responsibility when it comes to going to bed on time.
- Start on summer homework ahead of time
Easing back into schoolwork can also be a great way to prepare before the start of a new school year. Start on a small packet of summer homework well before the first day of school, and if your child’s school does not give out summer homework, obtain a few workbooks or even use educational apps as a refresher before going back to school full-time.
- Set goals for the school year – other than good grades
To kickstart a successful new school year, set some goals (other than getting good grades). Other goals you can set for school-age children include daily chores and household responsibilities such as clearing dishes from the table, taking out the trash and brushing teeth before school. Use an incentive-based program, with rewards, to encourage children to do their chores and other household responsibilities. Use an activity tracker, similar to a FitBit (except for children), in order to keep track of activities and chores that children do. Parents can add points using an app when a child completes a chore, and then children can cash out the points for a reward such as extra play dates or more iPad time.
- Keep a family calendar
Keeping everyone’s schedules straight can also be a difficult task for parents, so stay organized by using a shared family calendar with everyone’s assignments, practices, and appointments in one place. Make a morning “to-do” list every day to avoid going mad.
Having a central calendar that everyone shares can also reduce confusion for the whole family. While a classic paper calendar will do, many families also opt to use a shared Google calendar.
- Organize snacks
For just a couple dollars, you can buy divided plastic trays and set up various snack stations in the fridge at the beginning of the week. Then just grab and pack (with a sandwich) each morning.
- Keep water bottles cold
Make sure your child has cold water ready by filling a water bottle half-full and placing it on its side in the freezer. In the morning, fill the rest with water and they’re good throughout the day. This is also great for you when you’re running them around between school and other activities.
- Freeze juice boxes
Similarly, throw their lunchbox drinks in the freezer the night before and they will keep the rest of the lunch cool and thaw in time for them to drink.
- Make your own lunchables
Store bought Lunchables are full of preservatives and sodium. It’s much healthier to make your own and you can customize it to each child’s preference
- A hairy solution
Make morning styling a bit less hectic by keeping hair supplies like barrettes, pins, and elastics organized in a craft organizer box that perfectly stores in any drawer.
- Have fun with stickers
It sounds weird, but kids are much more likely to actually eat foods you send with them when they look like cute little things. Just stick on some goofy eyes and pop it in their lunch bag.
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