Prepping for Back to School in a Three Week Timeline

Back to School. Those three little words have the power to overwhelm almost immediately. The saying, “You eat an elephant one bite at a time” comes to mind when thinking about Back to School prep. As you and your family prepare to go from summer daze to school days, remember to do so by planning your to-do’s over the course of weeks, and not days, so you can digest that elephant one bite at a time.

A Back to School Preparation Timeline

3 weeks before school starts:

  1. Begin with taking an inventory of your child’s clothing. Discard items that are too small by reselling or donating the items to charity (don’t forget to grab a receipt for end of year tax purposes!). Then, take note of what you need before you start shopping for new fashions. Take a look not just at what size pants and shirts you need, but also what colors coordinate best with your child’s closet. Don’t forget to take inventory of easily-forgotten items that kids outgrow as well, such as socks, shoes, underwear, gym clothes, belts, snow hats, jackets and mittens.
  2.  Get in the loop by informing yourself via the school’s website. There you can find access to information such as a school supply list, a calendar for the school year, and maybe even a welcome note from teachers.
  3. Find out if you need to purchase school supplies or if your student’s school has a supply fee instead. If you do need supplies, clean out last year’s backpack and make a list of the school supplies you need to purchase new or replenish. Also think about backpacks, gym bags, lunch boxes and water bottles.
  4. Review some basic reading and math with your child. Open a book and do some reading. Ask them questions to start their thinkers thinking. Grab some flash cards and brush up on some math facts. Dusting off the cobwebs will do your child a world of good after being on a 12-week vacation.
  5. Solidify your before and afterschool child-care arrangements. Make sure you are registered, and have your helpers all lined out.
  6. Create positive conversations when talking about Back to School. Your attitude and excitement for the upcoming school year is bound to leave your child excited, not anxious, about the weeks to come.

2 weeks before school starts:

  1. Reestablish a set bedtime, and begin making it routine again. Start using an alarm and being up at the necessary time each day.
  2. Shop for school supplies and clothing needed. But instead of heading out on a Saturday, go shopping after dinner during the week. The experience will be much less stressful with smaller crowds.
  3. If you have a child moving or changing schools–or simply moving on to middle or high school–see if you can take a tour. Familiarize your child with a basic layout of his or her new school. If your child has a locker, make sure they know how to change a combination lock and help them to write down the combination in a safe spot.
  4. Buy a calendar and start mapping out family schedules. From soccer practice to football games, carpool to closures. Make a point to keep your calendar central in a good location so that you can share with your family and keep everyone in the loop.

1 week before school starts:

  1. Make a grocery list of lunch-friendly foods and hit the store. Include a Snack List, and let your kids help with this. Also be sure that you have a healthy supply of to-go containers and lids. Restock your ziplocks, napkins and plastic wear as well.
  2. Help your child prepare his or her outfits for the first week. Launder all the new, and hang up outfits in order of the week. This alone is half of the typical morning battle, making getting up and getting out much easier.
  3. Take an afternoon to go check out your child’s school. Maybe bring a soccer ball, check out the playground, or peek into your child’s classroom.
  4. Make sure that if your child rides a bus, that they know the bus route and bus stop and go over the routine for getting on and off the bus.

The day before the first day of school:

  1. Have backpack, shoes, and outfit ready to go.
  2. Make up some easy breakfasts for on the go. Whether it be some delicious overnight oats, or making up a few breakfast burritos for the freezer, this will be a lifesaver. And while you are making up breakfast, prepare a few individual snacks for the week as well.
  3. Have your camera charged and ready for first day pictures. If you are using a cell phone, make sure you have memory space available.
  4. Sit down as a family after dinner and make your 2016 Top 10 Summer Moments list and ring in fall with summer memories in your dreams.
  5. Get your sleep, go to bed on time!

With this all said and done, this elephant isn’t so bad. One bite at a time, and you’re back to school ready with less stress.

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