The back to school period can be incredibly chaotic. From shopping for new clothing to mentally preparing your children for the upcoming school year, you’re bound to have your hands full. Luckily, there are a few things that you can accomplish before actually having to do the actual back to school routine. These ten pre-fall semester ideas will help prepare the entire household for the upcoming change, while also saving you a bit of money in the long run. So, take a step back and breathe because this year back to school is going to a breeze.
1. Go Through Old Supplies
One of the first steps that you might want to take is to go through your old supplies. Try emptying out those backpacks from the end of the year to see which supplies are completely salvageable. You might be surprised as to how well some of the supplies look. One of the most common supplies to hold onto is notebooks, folders, and even loose paper. If your children use pencils or pens in school then these supplies are usually good to go too, but you might have to purchase a few new items to get them ready for the year. You might also go through your art supplies to find items to help supplement the supplies. You may even be able to reuse the backpack, which will save you quite a bit of money. Once you have a list of what you already have, you’ll be well prepared to shop efficiently.
2. Do a Closet Sweep
Another crucial point in preparing for the back to school shopping trip is to go through your children’s closets. You might be surprised as to how many clothes that they already have that can be reused to the school year, or at least get them started out. Of course, it is crucial to have them try everything on before you go shopping, just in case clothes don’t fit properly. Once you have a keep list, you can pass down items to younger siblings or even give them to family or friends. Then, you will be able to make better choices during back to school sales or even shop for future items to help make the clothing last even longer.
3. Research Teachers
If you know what school your child is going to then you might take a look at the teachers available for their grades. Sometimes, you can even put in a request depending on the school and the popularity of the teacher. However, some parents would rather wait on this step until they figure out who their children will be assigned to. Researching a teacher allows you to know more about them before you even step foot in their class. You can find information on their homework policies, what people liked about the teacher as well as what people didn’t like. This will empower you so you will know precisely what you’re dealing with when the first day of school starts. It might even give you enough information to help the future teacher better work with your child. This will allow everyone to get a good start to the year.
4. Talk About Extra Curricular Activities
Another problem many parents face when the school season starts is all of the extracurricular activities that children want to do. As soon as school begins, they are bombarded with flyers for new and exciting things to try. Plus, most children are influenced by what their peers are doing. Thus, you might find yourself hearing about a long list of things each child feels they need to do. If you sit down and talk to your child about the extracurricular options, then you might be able to stop some of the problems before it happens. First, go over time schedules, so children will be able to plan availability for things they’re interested in. You might also go over budgeting, as extracurricular activities aren’t exactly cheap in most cases. With the boundaries set, children will have to stop and think about their options before they choose a wide variety of things to do.
5. Review Coursework
Most children actually fall a bit behind during the summer months as education that is learned can easily be lost when not put to use. So, you might take the last few weeks of summer to have your children review the things they learned during the previous school year. You can use some of their old homework to come up with new worksheets, or you can download a wide variety of age-based worksheets online. If your children seem to be excelling in the work they completed last year, then you might want to give them a glimpse into what they will be doing in the upcoming year. This is easily done through websites that offer curriculum and work sheets or apps that are based on each grade. Reviewing and looking ahead will help make the transition a bit easier for children, so they can start earning good grades from the beginning.
6. Check Off Reading List
Reading is a great way to keep your child’s mind active during the summer months. However, it is easy to stray from reading plans, especially when children want a break from school when they first leave for vacation. If your school sends a reading list home for the summer, then you might have your children start working on it. Although they might not finish the list, you’ll find that reading a few of the books on the list will do them a world of good and will help get the mind ready for school. Of course, if your school doesn’t send home a reading list then you might consider looking online to find one for your child’s age group. You might also be able to find a reading list at the local library. In order to get your children started on the list, you might also begin by reading with them. This will definitely show them the importance of reading while helping them get a good start.
7. Check Ups
It can be a real pain in the neck to schedule appointments during the school season. This generally means pulling the child out of school and forcing them to make up the work they missed out on. However, there are many appointments that must be met, so you might try to get a jump start on them while school is still out for summer. Although you might not be able to schedule a wellness appointment for your child, as these are usually offered around the child’s birthday, you might be able to get an up to date physical for sports. You should also be able to get your child into the dentist as well as in for an eye exam. This will help knock out a few appointments and will give your child a chance to adjust if they need braces or glasses.
8. Craft Teacher Gifts
There’s no harm in trying to get off on the right foot with your teacher. So, you might want to stop and ask the children what they would like to craft for their new teacher. There are many exciting ideas to choose from too, which should help get the kids excited for school. One example is making your child’s future teacher a special mug. You can work with classic teacher themes or you can make something entirely customized. On top of that, there are many crafts that can be made simply with paper. There are lots of great ideas to check out online, so don’t be afraid to surf the net for the perfect idea to make a great first impression.
9. Plan Lunches/Snacks
There’s no doubt about it, you will find yourself struggling to get lunches and snacks together if you don’t do a bit of prep work ahead of time. So, you might take a couple of weeks to sit down and plan out some fun meal ideas that will help keep kids happy and fed during their school day and when they return. You might talk over the ideas with the kids and even try out a few of the ideas before school begins. This will allow you to assess the enjoyable nature of the dish as well as how frustrating it might be to make in a pinch. Once you have a game plan set into motion, you can start the meal prepping to make everyone’s lives easier. This will certainly allow you to cut back on the amount of time you spend in the kitchen as well as how often you need to go grocery shopping.
10. Enjoy Summer
Although preparing for back to school is incredibly important, one of the best things you can do to help make going back to school a bit easier is to just let your kids enjoy summer. Breaks are far and in between, so let your child fully embrace as much of summer as they possibly can. This might mean letting them spend most of their time in the pool, giving them a little extra screen time or even letting them enjoy those cold desserts more often than normal. No matter how you choose to celebrate summer, make sure everyone is having fun and relaxing so they will be well-rested for the upcoming school year.
Back to school is hectic and there’s no getting around it. However, these ten tips might help you make the most out of the chaos. With just a little bit of preparation, you might find yourself enjoying the process a little more while feeling better about the new school year.