By now, some of us parents might have been duped into thinking that school was a made up thing that we tricked ourselves into believing, because the holdiays have been so… Blissful and LONG. But then, just before we completely loose our faith in reality, we unearth that forgotten piece of paper that sends waves of relief and panic down our spine simultaneously : the school stationary list.
Speaking as the mom of a 4-year-old, I know I still have it pretty easy when it comes to back-to-school preparations which (now that the Christmas carols have been pulled from the Mall DJ playlist) are in full swing in every store you enter. I’m hoping that I am able to maintain this chirpy attitude come the grade years, but judging from the expressions of parents walking past me in the stationary isles, the odds are definitely against me!
Ever the researcher, I dove straight to the modern mom’s book of reference, Pinterest, to compile what I like to call a “strategy” for any parent in the midst of the back-to-school mania.
In no particular order, here are some tips that stood out as being most useful to me:
Make “to buy” list(s)
Yes, plural. Make a separate list for each category of your back-to-school agenda, ie. Uniform / clothing ; stationary ; snacks (dry goods, obviously).
Create a weekly meal plan
Get input from all family members to create an easy, fool proof weekly menu for the family, including school lunches and snacks. I prefer to use Sundays to compile, shop and prep our weeks’ worth of meals (as much as possible) but this is up to you. The more prepared you are, the less time the whole family needs to spend on unnecessary trips to the shop and missed out family time.
Start (and keep) a family calendar
Create or dedicate a calendar for all family members’ appointments and activities, and place it in a central and busy area of the house. Make sure you hang in at the appropriate height to allow any children that are able to write independently to add their own events to the calendar.
It seems a bit harsh to start telling your kids to go to bed early and get up at a more regular time while their still on holiday, but doing so well ahead of their back-to-school date will make it easier for them (and you) to get back into the school routine – no one wants to be late on the first day of school!
This was actually a very relevant tip to parents of kids of all ages – do a “practice run” one morning by following a time schedule that you would on a regular school day, from waking up, eating breakfast, getting dressed, etc. This will give you a good idea of whether you need to adjust your family’s wake up time or if you need to change up something in your routine.
School bags, etc.
Make sure school bags are packed and uniforms have been fitted and set out prior a few days before school starts, to prevent any last minute scrambles for items.
Return to your regular activity routine
If your family abides to certain TV and technology rules and / time restrictions, it’s a good idea to start reintroducing these before school starts.
Most importantly: POSITIVE VIBES
Regardless of the age of your child / children, create a positive atmosphere around going back to school and all the challenges and activities that lie ahead for the new year. Ensure your children know that they can openly communicate any problems or issues with you and enjoy the last days of holiday as a family.