10 Ways to Get Your Family Back to School Ready


back to school tips

Do you remember the old Staples back to school commercial with the dad running through the aisles gleefully with “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” playing in the background and the kids sadly walking behind the cart? I get a little giddy when I think about back to school. I LOVE my kids and I love getting to have a break from our busy schedule during the summer. We have lots of pool dates, popsicles and lazy afternoons. However, by mid-August, we are all ready to get back to school. 

Below are 10 ways that help our family get Back to School Ready:

  1. Getting back on schedule – Most of my kids are early risers but by August a lot of my kids are sleeping in and going to bed later. A week or so before school starts we get back into a school schedule. I wake the kids up earlier and bedtime is earlier.
  2. Paperwork – This is my least favorite task. Remember to check your school’s requirements to see what paperwork needs to be turned in before school starts. For example, my high school daughter has to bring certain forms to locker day in order to get her schedule and locker.
  3. Clean out backpacks and lunchboxes – I have my kids clean out their backpacks when school ends for the year, but sometimes there are items left behind. Before school starts I have the kids do a full cleanout of backpacks and locate their lunch boxes. A friend told me awhile ago that you can machine wash lunchboxes and backpacks so I started doing that before school begins. Make sure to check the labels before machine washing to make sure yours can be washed.
  4. Back to school books – For my younger children we read back to school books the week leading up to the first day. Some of our favorites are:
  1. School supplies – In our area schools give out suggested school supply lists for each grade. I get these items ahead of time and have the kids sort them and label them before the open house. We take the supplies to open house or locker day so the kids won’t be weighed down with them in their backpacks on the first day. We also repurpose any unused supplies that came home in June. The challenge in my house is trying to hide the unused notebooks before my 3 year old writes in all of them!
  2. Plan lunches – Sometimes I wish my kids would buy lunch, but.. my kids like to bring lunch from home. We plan out what they want to pack for lunch that first week and do lunch preparation each night.
  3. Bus stop get together – In our neighborhood, a family hosts a Bus Stop Bagel Bash a day or two before school starts. We all meet at the bus stop at the time the bus will be coming on a regular school day and enjoy getting to see old friends and meeting new neighbors. It is a really nice way to get back into the school schedule and if you are new to neighborhood or sending your first kid to school it is a great way to meet your neighbors.
  4. Consistent schedule – On the first day of school we have our kids ride the bus to and from school because that is what they are going to do everyday. I have been tempted to do something different on the first day, but sticking to the routine really helps our kids.
  5. Emergency supplies basket by the door – Something new I am going to start doing this school year is to have a basket by the door with some items that we are often searching for when the kids should be heading out the door. I am going to put hair elastics, socks, pencils, pens and snacks.
  6. Getting emotionally ready for a new school year – In addition to all the logistical back to school tasks, we feel it is important to help our kids get emotionally ready for school. We talk about:
    • Expected behavior – following our family rules as well as all the school and classroom rules.
    • Being a good classroom citizen and being kind and respectful to everyone.
    • Choosing friends that “fill your bucket”
    • We also talk about where our kids can go if they need help solving a problem with a classmate or help with school work.
    • We talk about what they are excited about for this coming year and any concerns they have.
    • For our older kids we have more mature conversations about our expectations for their behavior, peer pressure, balancing school, sports and a social life.

Another tip is I keep the back to school excitement going past the first day of school. For my kids the first week of school is fun, it’s the second week that seems harder. I try and keep the momentum and excitement going by having a treat for them at the end of the second week, like ice cream sundaes or a trip to our favorite park.

Enjoy those last few days of summer. Even though I am ready to say goodbye to summer and hello to school, I also make that last week of summer fun. We come up with a list of 3 or 4 things the kids want to do before school starts.

How do you get your family back to school ready?

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  1. Thanks for sharing this! I can only imagine how overwhelming it is to send kids off to school (mine are not old enough yet!), but I do remember how exciting it was to get ready for that first day (my parents were teachers, so school was our LIFE). I’m bookmarking this list for when my son is ready to go!

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