by Rachel Wells
Shopping for new clothes and school supplies is a big part of the back-to-school season, but kids need more than that to start the year off right and have a successful first day (and beyond!) With a little thought and a little prep, every family can start the school year off on the right foot.
Wondering what to do? Check out our list of 10 easy ways (in no particular order) your family can start the school year off in the best way possible.
Reintroduce bedtimes and wake-up times
Poor sleep habits can have a huge impact on student performance, so the sooner you start healthy habits back up the better. About a week before school begins, start transitioning back bedtime, and then a few days before school starts have your child practice waking up with their alarm clock in the morning. No one wants to rush around with overtired kids in the morning on the first day of school.
Plan for family dinners
Life can be busy and full of extracurricular activities in the evenings but make it a priority to have family dinners at least three times a week. Sitting down to dinner as a family has been proven to lead to healthier family relationships and healthier kids. It’s a great time to talk about the day, see how school is going, and enjoy your kids’ cute little faces.
Make a home for everything
It’s hard to stay organized once the craziness of school begins – papers, lunchboxes, backpacks, papers, gym shoes, water bottles, folders… did we mention papers?! Put a plan in place so your child knows exactly where to put everything when they get home – a basket for shoes, a hook for backpacks, lunchbox gets immediately unpacked, and homework gets set out on the counter. And then there’s the papers – take a second to unload your child’s take-home folder each day. Look over your child’s work and hang up any superstar pieces on the fridge, file anything important into a file folder, sign anything that needs to be signed right away, and recycle whatever you can.
Make a lunch packing station
Find a shelf in your pantry, fridge, or cabinets to set up a lunch packing station. Include containers, Ziploc baggies, side items, and meal items so everything is in one place and kids can independently get their lunch together each night before school.
For some fun packed lunch ideas check out this post.
Create a family calendar
Hang a large calendar in a central location and write everyone’s schedule on it. If you feel like going the extra mile, assign each member of the family a different color to write on the calendar with.
Get involved at school
Take time to meet your child’s teacher, the front desk staff at school, and their after care teachers. Attend any back-to-school nights and open houses, and walk around to learn the layout of the school.
Plan quality family time
Summer means lots of family time together, but the school year doesn’t have to mean an end to the family fun. While schedules may be busier remember to make time for family activities – evening bike rides, board games, cooking together, etc.
Set clothes out the night before
Little things can make a big impact on how your morning flows. Try setting out your child’s clothes the night before to make getting dressed an easier process.
Talk about the school year and how to meet friends
The first day of school can be hard. New teachers, new classrooms, new classmates, new friends – there is a lot of unknown! Take time before the year starts to see how your child is feeling about their year, and talk about ways they can make new friends/meet new people.
Take photos and make a 1st day memento
Your child only gets one first day of each grade. Be sure to take their photo, make a cute memento, and take time to savor the excitement together.
This simple and adorable popsicle stick frame makes for a perfect first day keepsake!