For many, late July and early August represent a time lost to the haze of summer: a mix of work schedules, camp schedules, and the patchwork of care that comes along with it. For others, these are the lazy days of summer, or a time to squeeze in that last summer road trip. While it may not yet be on your radar, back to school season will be here before you know it. Luckily, there are some early preparation steps you can take right now that will leave you feeling cool as a summer cucumber when school starts.
Here are ten ways to start prepping your kid for back to school now:
1. Read with your kids.
One of the best things you can do with your kids now and year-round is read with them. Most teachers would agree that reading to your kids is an excellent way to prepare them for school and keep their curious minds active and learning during breaks. Check out some great, diverse family reads here.
2. Start a new routine.
Another smart way to prepare for back to school is to start your school year routine right now. If your kids have gotten into the habit of going to bed and sleeping in late, start gradually shifting the time of your routines backwards to prepare them. To ensure you actually follow through, schedule a morning activity that will serve as an incentive for the early wakeup call.
3. Optimize your home for the school year.
Time to get organized! Ensure each child has an appropriate workstation in their bedrooms as well as in a common area like the kitchen or family room. Stock up on containers, hanging organizers, and storage bins. Preparing a system now will help you feel ready to tackle the first weeks and months of school with ease—even if your organization might look a little scary by Halloween.
4. Bargain hunt.
One of the smartest things you can do right now is to bargain shop for school supplies, clothes, and other school year necessities. When you start early, you have time to wait for online items to arrive and won’t feel pressured to buy the quickest option on Amazon or pay triple the shipping so a crucial item arrives on time. Many retailers offer back to school discounts throughout the summer, so don’t be afraid to dive in and start hunting.
5. Note important dates on the schedule.
If you don’t already know the holidays, parent-teacher conference days, and other important events for the upcoming academic year, now is the perfect time to take note of those and get them on your calendar. Not only will this help you plan ahead, but it will give you plenty of time to request days off work, negotiate care with other primary caregivers, or to pencil in a babysitter. It will also help you avoid accidentally driving your kids to school on a scheduled day off (been there).
6. Get rid of things you don’t need.
While you are organizing your home for the school year, it’s also a great time to purge your home of unnecessary clutter and relics of previous school years. Divide and conquer by organizing unwanted items into piles and deciding what to sell, donate, or throw away/recycle.
7. Start meal planning.
Cut down on some of the back to school year stress by writing out a meal plan for the first few weeks of school. Keep it simple with family favorites known to please. If meal planning sounds too ambitious, consider investing in a meal delivery service for busy weeknights.
8. Stay abreast of school policy changes.
Now more than ever, it’s important to be aware of school policy changes and updates regarding health and wellness, vaccinations, food allergies, dress codes, mask mandates, and more. A little reading now can save a lot of headaches later. But, don’t stop there. Sign up for email or text alerts from your school to stay on top of updates as they happen.
9. Visit your pediatrician.
On a related note, visiting your child’s pediatrician (or checking in through the patient portal) to ensure your kids are up-to-date on all required check-ups and vaccinations will make returning to school a breeze.
10. Do something fun!
Finally, don’t forget that, while it’s important to start preparing for the school year early, your family should enjoy these final days of summer, too! Before everyone is back to the grind, reserve time for summer fun. Check out our mid-summer bucket list for some ideas of things your family can do right now.
Wishing you a happy, healthy school year!
What’s your favorite back to school prep tip?