Have you seen the back to school picture where mom is jumping for joy and the kids are all sad? Funny, and maybe a little true. Whether summer flew by or you’ve been counting down the days for school to begin, we want to help you be prepared with some back to school tips all in one place.
Routines start with preparation the night before. Have lunches packed, back packs ready and clothes set out. Set a bedtime and stick to it. If it helps, set an alarm that everyone knows means time to get ready for bed. Whatever your “get ready for bed” routine is, allow enough time so “lights out” is the same time each night. Kids often fight routine, but they do need it. Your morning routine can run like clockwork too, even if you have a child who won’t get out of bed. Allowing kids enough time to do the essentials – get dressed, teeth, hair, breakfast – and leaving even a few minutes of free time, alleviates that last minute panic to rush out the door. Lastly, it’s important that the after-school routine is established by laying out your expectations for homework, chores, snack and how much screen time is allowed. Evening prep is really the key. Chicken or the egg? Maybe, but you can condition the household if you stick to it!
If you pack a lunch for your child to take to school, you can start to feel like you’re sending the same things week after week. First, this is probably more your concern than your child’s. There are SO many ideas out there for creative lunches (think Pinterest) so as you’re grocery shopping or meal planning remember, kids often only have 15 minutes to eat and some schools have strict policies against peanut products (allergies). Use this as your guide and you can’t go wrong.
A child might think the most important aspect of a back is picking out the theme, but there are some other important factors to consider when you purchase and load up the backpack. First, make sure the backpack is the correct size and fits properly. Wide straps should go over both shoulders. The weight of the backpack should be no more than 15% of your child’s body weight. When your child is packing up (the night before, remember?) make sure they are only packing the essentials. Schools often warn against allowing valuables. While it’s super fun to show off their latest gadget, it’s not so great when it’s lost or broken.
There are so many things to consider for your child’s safety from riding the bus or walking to school to fear of bullies. Talk with them about strangers and what they should be on the look out for and how to react. If they only remember one thing, let it be this: safe grownups don’t ask kids for help. If your child is old enough, they may be spending some time at home alone after school. Establish a check-in process so you know they made it home safely. The most important thing to remember is to communicate the rules and set expectations.