I don’t know about you, but I feel like I can never collect too many back to school tips. This time of year brings up mixed emotions. I don’t enjoy alarm clocks and keeping up with school supplies. But it is nice to get back to a routine that works well for us.
Over the years, I’ve found some excellent resources that keep our family on track.
Here are my best back to school tips.
One last fling
While you’re figuring out schedules and supplies, don’t forget about having some fun, too! Was there one thing you’ve been meaning to do all summer, but just never got around to it? What would your kids love to do one last time? Try to fit in that trip to the pool, a backyard camp out, or one more night of catching lightning bugs.
Look back over your school shopping lists to be sure you didn’t miss anything important. And if you know the kids will need a refill of certain items (I’m looking at you, no. 2 pencils) halfway through the year, buy extras while they are on sale.
Be sure to check out my 5 Best Ways to Save Money on Back to School Supplies.
Ugh, I don’t miss packing lunches over the summer! But it’s a great way to save money over the cost of a school lunch, so we always try to pack as often as we can.
I’ve simplified that process as much as possible. Even a kindergartner can pack parts of their lunch, so be sure to ask the kids to pull their own weight! We always put lunches together the night before. Refrigerated items can go in a basket marked with each child’s name for simple mornings.
Know Your Schedule
I’m lost without my calendar. With so many kids in different activities, it’s too hard to keep track of everything. At the beginning of the school year, I try to find a school calendar and enter as many items on my own calendar as I can. So in August, I already have some idea of what next May will be like for us.
Of course, sometimes things change. So you’ll want to double check items on your calendar throughout the year.
I love using my Cozi calendar, because it’s free (#yearofno approved!). It has an app that both Hubby and I can access (so we can schedule appointments on the go). Plus it’s color coded, so I can see at a glance that our oldest needs to be here while my youngest should be there.
Have a Routine
When I first decided to put a routine in place for our family, I was too strict. We were to eat at noon, followed by naps at 1:00 on the dot. So if we were out running errands, I’d drop everything to be home by noon exactly. I was lost when we deviated from that routine.
Now I realize how silly that was. When you have a young family, you have to have a fluid routine. A general plan or checklist of things that have to be done each day is good, but it has to move with life.
Now I’ve got my own plan. Each morning, I must empty the dishwasher, run a load of laundry, make the bed, and choose supper. Even if I don’t do anything else on a busy day, our family will be able to run smoothly.
The kids have expectations for the morning, too. They must:
- dress down to shoes
- eat breakfast
- brush teeth
- put together lunch (packed the night before)
- gather everything needed for school
That must be done before any reading or play happens.
If this is an area that you struggle with, I recommend Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine (Money Saving Mom). I took this course myself, and it has a wealth of information to make your life flow more smoothly! I am NOT a morning person (you don’t want to try to talk to me before coffee!), but even I got a lot out of this course. So don’t worry that she’s going to hound you to get out of bed at 5 am.
There’s also a Make Over Your Evenings course. I haven’t tried that one, but I’m sure it’s also excellent.
Both of those courses are on sale for only $10 right now. But you’ll need to act by August 15th to get that low price!
Many people suggest that you acclimate kids to an earlier school year bedtime a bit at a time. Move their summer bedtime forward 15 minutes each night until you’ve reached your goal.
I’m sure that’s great information, but I don’t find that it works well for our family. I prefer to make sure they get up a bit earlier each day leading up to the big morning. But we mainly use the “It’s the first day of school! Get out of bed!” shock method. My kids adjust fine within a few days.
I do find it important to have a bedtime routine. It’s great for everyone in the family! Give your body a signal that you’re getting ready to lie down for the night. Try washing your face (or showering) and reading for a bit (if that’s calming for you). Another trick? Let the kids stay up an extra half hour to read. It’s a great way to encourage your kids to love reading!
These back to school tips will have your family ready to go by the time the bus rolls up your street.
Need to find a way to raise funds without asking parents to give even more money? This fundraiser is the easiest one I’ve ever done. You can raise money for your school group without asking friends and family to spend a dime! Check it out here:
What’s your best back to school tip? Be sure to share below!