- Tanya Grovum
Tips for Getting Back to School Ready
Even though you may not want to think about sending your kids off for another year of school (or maybe you do!), now is the time to get organized for success. Below are a few tips that we use to make the transition as simple as possible.
1. Check the old stuff. Take an inventory of what items will need to be replaced for the upcoming year (i.e. backpack, pencil case, notebooks, binders, lunch bag, water bottle, thermos, containers, etc.).
2. New this year? You may not know exactly how things will change this year, but you might be aware of some things that you can plan for vs. having to head out to the store a second time.
Things to consider – The need for 2 designated pairs of shoes (indoor and outdoor). Do you have enough labels for all the new stuff? Will your kids be using lockers?
3. Improve on last year. As you are completing tip #1 and tip #2, think back to last year. Reflect on what worked and what didn’t. What were your biggest challenges related to preparedness at school? Was it forgetting to pack everything they needed? Not having the right supplies for school or at home? Lunches? Use this as a chance to fix last year’s frustrations and hopefully make your life easier this year.
Backpack specific tips:
Create a designated zone for backpacks. Each bag has a spot.
Create a cheat sheet, so that everyone knows what needs to go in each bag in the morning. If something extra is needed on a particular day, add that to the sheet. Then, post this in the backpack zone. Use it as a checklist each day.
Establish an end of day routine where all the backpacks are emptied and sorted. Create a place for all the items: homework, forms, newsletters, in progress work, completed work, extra clothes, etc. Bonus points if you restock the bag at night!
Lunches are a whole different ballgame!
Containers. There are so many different options! No matter what you choose, it just has to work for you AND your kids. Think back to last year… Did your kids lose all of their containers? Did you dread washing all the containers? If so, try a bento box style lunch – it’s only one item for them to keep track of and only one for you to wash (and they can go in the dishwasher!)! Do your kids prefer hot lunches? Perhaps you should invest in a few more thermos style containers.
Food. Kids tastes change. Think about what your kids are eating now and what you’re going to be able to send with them for lunch. You can start experimenting with different school friendly options to minimize the food that finds it's way back home. Also, this is a great time to reorganize your school friendly snacks. We find that having everything in one place allows you to see what you have an simplifies the lunch packing process.
4. Don’t forget you! This is a great time to find deals on “school” supplies, but that doesn’t mean it’s only about the kids. Think about if you need anything for yourself – do you need a new lunch bag? How’s your stock of printer paper?
5. Community. While you’re out shopping, consider picking up a few extra items to be donated to a local community program.
In Guelph, we support the Guelph Community Backpack Project (https://lakesidehopehouse.ca/guelph-community-backpack-project/)
In KW, we support Send’em Off Smiling (http://sendemoff.ca/)
6. Back on a schedule. For us, summer has meant a later start to our day. When school is on, the boys will need to be on the bus at 8am! As we get closer to September, we will be practicing earlier bedtimes and less playtime in the mornings. When school is on, I plan to ask the boys the what they would like for breakfast and lunch, the night before. We’ll see how that goes… ;)
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these tips and any other words of wisdom you can share. Now, get back to enjoying your summer!
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Photo sourced by Edgewood Independent School District