It’s timeeeeeee! Get ready for a strong start to the school year with our 5-Step Back to School Checklist. Even if your school days have started, check the tips below for added inspiration. Also, scroll to the bottom to see our new channel announcement.
1–Start the New Time Cycle Routine Early
Do you remember how hard it was to switch the kids’ schedules during daylight savings time? I sure do. Start easing into the earlier mornings and earlier to bed times now to avoid the 1st day of school shock. Shift the time schedule 15 minutes earlier every couple of days until the target times are achieved.
You know your children better than anyone else. Do they need more time to ease out of bed or do they jump right out? Set alarm clocks in your child’s room with the appropriate amount of snooze time, if needed. Make older kids responsible for their wake up times. Check out these fun alarm clocks that you can find on Amazon (affiliate links):
- Gigibon Alarm Clock Robot (with hand clips for notes)
- Mosche Sunrise Alarm Clock (with wake up light)
- Glime LED Night Light Wake Up Alarm (with natural sounds alarm and light sunrise)
- Plumeet Large Digital Silicone Clock (easy to set and shock proof)
- Raynic Alarm Clock Radio (with bluetooth speaker & usb charging)
2–Prep the Lunch Bags & Backpacks
- Wash old lunch bags & backpacks in a gentle cycle wash and dry completely in the sun.
- Label new lunch bags & backpacks with child’s name and parent’s phone number. My kids destroy lunch boxes within the year, so I use a permanent sharpie to label inside, If you are planning on handing down items to other siblings, try these labels (Amazon affiliate links):
- Stock the backpacks with base items, e.g. change of shorts & underwear for the younger kids or feminine products for older tween/teen girls.
3–Purge Small or Ripped Clothes
- Spend a targeted 20 minutes with your kids before doing a fun activity. Ideally, the kids are not tired and see the benefit of making room for better fitting clothes. For example, you could set a timer for 20 minutes of purging before taking a trip to the park.
- Small clothes can be donated through your local Goodwill. More expensive items could be sold through sites such as:
- It may be hard to let go of items that have emotional attachment for you, but be diligent. The purge can help you open up for new memories and attachments. Don’t make the mistake we did. We saved 4 large plastic crates of our oldest daughter’s baby and toddler clothes in case new siblings came along. We moved the boxes back and forth during moves between California and New York. When we finally were expecting twins 7 years later, the twins ended up being boys who were not going to wear the baby dresses we saved.
4–Set New Routines for the School Year
- Children (and adults) generally find comfort in routines. Having a morning and evening routine can make getting back to school an easier transition.
- Practice the routines with your kids. It will be helpful to write down the routine on large poster board for younger kids or even a small post-it for older kids.
- Sample morning routine:
- Get dressed, including socks, with shoes, hat and jacket ready at the door
- Eat breakfast
- Clear breakfast dishes and place in dishwasher
- Put lunchbox and water bottle in backpack
- Brush and floss teeth
- Transition activity if parents are not ready (e.g. reading a book, petting the dog, etc.)
- 5-minute warning to have the kids get shoes, hat, jacket on
5–Plan Standard Lunches
The last thing you need to trip you up is stumbling over lunch choices. Even though I had the routine down last year, my kids have now requested new lunch choices. Our teen is requesting pre-made salads from Trader Joe’s. One of our twins is asking for small bowls of refried beans with cheese on top. Take prep to the next level by figuring out a routine to prep most of the items in batches ahead of time. Check out one of my old posts on time-saving lunch prep tips for the whole family (Click here).
Here’s wishing you a smooth start to the new school year. Share below if you try these techniques.