From school supplies to lunch ideas, here are tips to help you send your kids back to school.
As summer winds to a close, it's time to go back to school. No more lazy days of summer. Instead, you have to deal with buying school supplies, packing healthy lunches, helping with homework and finding after-school child care. Scared yet?
Don't worry! Here are A+ tips to help you manage the chaos.
1 Month Before School Starts:
- Save money on school supplies by doing your back-to-school shopping early, so you have time to find the best deals and avoid the crowds.
- Figure out what to do with your kids when school lets out. Explore your after-school child care options now, so you're not left scrambling at the last minute.
- Want to hire an after-school sitter? Start the process early -- the best nannies and babysitters get snapped up early in the summer. Use these tips to help your search.
- Ensure your child has a great first day of school and an even better school year by getting organized and preparing early.
3 Weeks Before:
- Talk to kids about important issues they may face this year. Watch these back-to-school movies together to kick start the conversation.
- Is your child starting a new school? Ease the transition this week by going on a tour of the building, scheduling playdates with new classmates and using this advice.
- Sign up for after-school extracurricular activities, if you haven't already. Find the right ones for your kids.
- Watch these helpful how-to videos for tips on common back-to-school problems and organizational challenges.
2 Weeks Before:
- Get crafty with some back-to-school crafts. They'll get your kids in the school spirit and they make great gifts for teachers.
- Learn the common back-to-school problems that parents face -- and how to solve them!
- Plan how your little ones will get to school and how they'll get home. Decide if they're ready to walk to school alone.
- From mapping out the day to preparing for the IEP, start helping your child with special needs get ready for the new school year.
1 Week Before:
- Contact your child's teachers this week to see if they have any advice before school starts. Here are additional back-to-school tips from teachers to get you started.
- Consider purchasing a special back-to-school gift for your kids.
- Get kids on a regular schedule before school starts, going to bed early and waking up early. Have them fill out a nighttime routine checklist Here's a version for elementary school kids and one for preschoolers.
The Day Before:
- Head to the store and stock your fridge and pantry with food to make these quick and healthy breakfast and lunch ideas.
- Squelch any back-to-school worries that may be cropping up today by talking to your kids about how great school is.
- As you prepare your kids for school, get yourself ready too. Make these back-to-school resolutions to help you survive the school year.
The First Day of School:
- Start the year off right by keeping your morning relaxed and organized.
- Encourage children to talk about their day when they get home from school.
- Help your kids release all of that post-school energy with these fun after-school games and activities.
- Prepare some simple after-school snacks so you can feed grumbling tummies.
After School Starts:
- Kids complaining about classes already? Teach them how to love school.
- Look out for signs that your child is being bullied (or bullying someone else). Ask your after-school sitter to be aware of these red flags too.
- Give kids a hand with homework, but don't overdo it -- many parents get too involved, which hurts kids in the long run. Read up on these other homework solutions.
- Ask the teacher how you can be involved with your child's classroom -- your participation will help your kids do better in school. Try these options for parents who have three hours a day, a week, a month or a year!
- Prepare for the first parent-teacher conference by creating a list of things you want to discuss.
Tiffany Smith is the director of content and publicity at William Woods University. She has written for All You, Time for Kids and the Boston Globe. And, as a former babysitter, she knows a lot about fun games to play with kids. Getting them to eat their veggies -- that’s a different story! Follow her on Twitter at @tiffanyiswrite.