It is almost that time of year again. The season that brings fresh boxes of crayons, markers, and glue sticks lining the store aisles, when lunches will once again need to be packed, and somewhere in the middle of Target, there is a Mama crying into her soon-to-be Kindergarteners’ school supply list. (This may or may not be me that I am referring to. Okay, it is me. But no shame here!) It’s back-to-school time!!!
These next few weeks are always bittersweet for me. I find myself wanting to hold on to the last little glimpses of summer, and at the same time, trying my best to prep our household and kiddos for school. This season can be stressful and overwhelming, so I thought I’d help lift the burden *just a tiny bit* and share a few of my tips for managing the transition from sunscreen and pool days to structure and school drop-offs.
Buy only what your kids ACTUALLY need.
About a month and a half before school starts, I go through my kids’ closets. I will gut anything that doesn’t fit, and make a list of the items they will need before the school year starts. That way when I go out shopping, I know exactly what I am looking for and don’t get swept away by sale signs and fancy marketing.
The same goes for their school supplies. I will print off both of their supply lists and any extra teacher needs, and just shop directly off of those. Keep it simple. Trust me, you and your bank account will thank me!
I know how tempting it can be to just toss all the markers and crayons into the cart, or buy them an extra set of shorts ‘just in case’ because they are on sale. I’ve learned over the years though to stick to the list!
Set a back-to-school shopping date.
This is something my own Mom started with me and my brother and is a tradition I have happily carried on with my own kids. I like to shop early, so as soon as I have their school lists, I will plan an afternoon with each of them and knock it out! We normally end with some sort of special treat; donuts, ice cream, or slushies are our go-to’s!
Re-establish a routine.
If your house is anything like ours, then summer brings a lot more flex to your days and schedule than the school year does. I totally embrace that part of this season, but it is just that… a season! Now is the time to get back on track, move those bedtimes forward a bit, and get back into a solid routine with your kids.
No one likes abrupt change, so I have found it much easier if I do this gradually over about a month to a month and a half. For us, it looks like putting the kids to bed a bit earlier, re-establishing our morning breakfast routine, and working on getting up and being completely ready by our school start time.
Create a bucket list/calendar.
I am a visual person, so this one helps me a ton! I use our kitchen calendar to show the kids how many days they have left until school starts. This helps us all actually *see* and start to mentally prepare better. To make this more fun, I will have them help me decide on a few last-minute summer bucket list activities they want to do before school starts. We’ll add them to the calendar so the days leading up to school are days to look forward to!
Mentally prepare for that lunch prep life.
I know many parents struggle with packing lunches or end up dreading it by the end of the school year. It doesn’t have to be that way! Take some of the pressure off of yourself, and embrace that snack lunch life. Take some time to think of what your kiddos’ snacked on throughout the day during summer, and as long as it’s balanced, call it lunch! If you spend time at the beginning of each week prepping and cutting fruits/veggies only ONCE, then you can just grab and go for lunch boxes each night.
Here are a few simple lunch/snack favorites of ours:
- PB & J wraps
- Pepperoni, cheese, and crackers (Build your own Lunchable)
- Salami and cream cheese roll-ups
- Sweet peppers, cucumber slices, apple sauce, carrot sticks
- Hummus and veggie chips
Back-to-school season is here whether we’re ready or not, so we might as well be ready! I hope that this post has been helpful for you. If you have any other tips or tricks for this season, drop them below, I’d love to read them!!!