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It’s Time to Think About Back to School!

In my former life, I taught 2nd grade, and I know the shock to the system that going back to school can be! Our days mostly consist of staying in jammies till 10 am, top knots and no make up, playing outside and taking advantage of the months we have crazy flexibility and freedom in our schedules. If I don’t prep for that to change…I’m in trouble. This is for sure a transition that needs front loading for all members of the family. Whats going to change, what will things look like now, etc. No one is going to benefit from leaving any of this to the last minute. We want to enjoy our last weeks of summer and be present in them while still having back to school in the back of our mind and prepping ahead so we can allow ourselves to be present in these last moments!

In this episode, I’m sharing my top tips for easing into the back to school routines with easy ideas for transitioning while still being present during these last summer weeks. I’m setting you up for success so you can have the smoothest, most stress-free back to school yet!

This is PART 1 of the back to school podcast series! Part 2 will air on Wednesday, Aug. 20th and be all about memory making and traditions for the first day of school!

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Create Excitement

I want my kids to always have a positive attitude toward school, so I want to make back to school an exciting thing! I like to start conversations about going back to school and open that communication up so they can share any big feelings they may be having about the change. I’m very mindful of the words I use when talking about summer ending and school starting. I don’t want it to be a negative thing. I don’t want them to focus on missing me or the boring parts of school. As a teacher, it was SO hard to teach the kids that constantly were told school is boring or had parents that kept telling them they wish that summer wouldn’t end so they had to go back. All of those messages get dumped on your kid and they totally take on those feelings! It’s so important for them to love school and think of it as a fun and safe place, so just be aware of your language when starting these conversations!

Back to School Countdown

Framed Sign: make a sign on Word or Canva that says Back to School Countdown or How Many Days Till School Starts? Leave a blank space in the middle of your sign and then frame it. On the frame, have kids use a whiteboard marker and countdown to school! This is SO fun for them to do and it’ll really build that excitment.

Letter Board: Same as above, How Many Days Till School? or whatever you want your letter board to say and then you just change the number as you count down! Here’s an affiliate link to purchase a letter board if you like this idea!

Paper Chain: Kids will LOVE this one, and this is what we’re going to do! Remember those paper chains from Christmas countdowns? Why not use them for counting down to school? Make your chain in your school’s colors and each morning have kids rip a chain link off and get one day closer to school starting!

These countdown build excitement, but also gives them control over something. They can control the number, this helps them build structure and gives them a routine for the morning- which eases them into the maddness that can be school mornings. Setting up those routines and habits now are hugely helpful.

Establish Routine

Start some of these routines NOW, at least a week or two weeks before school starts so this isn’t a new thing you have to navigate. One of the easiest ways to start getting back in the school routine is to start laying out your kids’ clothes for the day before they go to bed. Even if you have no plans and you’re staying in jammies or swimsuits outside…just get in the routine. Lay your swimsuit out for all I care! It’s just practicing the motions ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling the night before and putting something on your already full plate on the morning of the first day of school.

I saw a really cute idea on one of my favorite IG accounts @themamanotes. She got a shoe organizer and cut out the days of the week (M, T, W, Th, F) in felt and glued the letter in the organizer. On Sunday, her and her daughter picked out her outfits for the week, stuck them in the organizer and she checked that task off her list for the week! LOVED that genius idea for batch working!

Another easy little tip that’s been working for me is brushing our teeth downstairs again. During the school year, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get my kids to brush their teeth upstairs in their bathroom. Because of this, we brush downstairs right after breakfast. I see their toothbrushes and water cups and it’s my cue to remember teeth brushing. Just something that works well for me that I thought I’d share!

What Needs to Get Done?

Make a list of all the things that need to get done before school starts- school supplies, school clothes, immunizations, physicals, forms, etc. What can you do NOW rather than wait? Once Target put out their school supplies, we were there. I wanted to get it done while I was there shopping already, Evie was excited, and we busted it out. Check it off the list and one less thing I need to rush and do on the back to school night!

Meal Planning

This one if the loftiest of all the tips, but the one we will all thank ourselves the most come back to school. I am going to make a whole meal plan- both lunches and dinners- for September. Just like batching the outfits for the week, I want to do meal planning once and be done with it. I know that going back to school is going to be a hard transition for my daughter, especially since she’s never been away from home all day long for multiple days. I know how exhausted kids get those first couple weeks/months and I want my focus to be being there for her and being mindful of what she needs from me in navigating that change. The last thing I’ll want to think about is what’s for dinner during those tough days. Giving myself this leg up and not having that on my plate will be such a huge gift that I give myself and I want you to try this one also!

Purging 

We accumulate way too much stuff over the summer, especially at my house with two summer birthdays. I need a clean slate in my house when it comes to back to school. Too much is going on, the schedule gets packed and it won’t get done once school starts, which will drive everyone more crazy, so take some time to do this now.

Clothes

Clothe are always a battle. Evie will pick something that’s way too small or short on her, which is ultimately my fault for having it in her closet still, and then we’re in a battle of wills in the morning getting ready for school. I’m not dealing with that this year. I want to have essentials like leggings, jeans, hoodies, etc. stocked up and ready to go in her size, and then things like winter coats, hats, gloves in an easy to grab place so I’m not hunting on the first cold morning. Those last minute things, like needing rain boots on a day thats pouring, give me anxiety. Knowing this, it’s easy to grab some things now and I’m ready and prepared when needed.

Toys

Birthday presents, outside toys, activity books, arts and crafts- all things that are closing in on me that we just don’t need going into the school year. Bless and release! Now that kids are going to be at school for longer times, they don’t need all those toys in their room because the time play is limited.

Pantry

Do a big inventory on what you have and what’s expired that you need to replace. Again, this is preparing you for whats to come. It’s such an annoying feeling to make your first soup of Fall and realize you’re all out of the spices you need! Also, think about what you’ll need for snack time, lunch box essentials, after school snacks, easy grab and go breakfasts, etc. What about lunchboxes and water bottles with straws that match? Do you need new to go containers? Bento boxes? Get them now and thank yourself later!

Pick and choose a couple of these things to do little by little. It will help you get in such a better headspace when it comes to transitioning back into the school routine. You will be less stressed and calmer, which makes your kids and family calmer- win for all. Think of these as a gift you’re giving yourself as you transition out of summer and into back to school season!

I’ll be back next week with Part 2 where I’m talking all about back to school memory makers and traditions!

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