prep for back to schoolIt’s blazing hot outside, but when you rush into a local store you’re confronted with rows of pencils instead of beach balls. Yes, you know back to school is upon us once again. While your first instinct may be to hide your eyes and run away into the sunblock aisle or text your kids a photo of a back to school display with a ‘lol’ attached to it (I have done this, and yes it was funny), as a mom of four I can tell you there’s a lot of benefit to preparing early for the back to school rush.

You won’t miss out on a day of summer if you follow these tips for transitioning back to a school schedule, and you’ll be the lucky mom hanging out on the beach while everyone frantically searches for pastels and pencil crayons in the days before classes start.

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Slowly get back into bedtime

I know, summer bedtime can be a free for all. I’ve had many conversations with my seven year old over how it’s OK to go to sleep before it gets dark out, but he still ends up awake long past his bedtime. Rather than letting the summer schedule end on the night before school, gradually get your kids back into a bedtime routine a few weeks before school. Even if you shoot for a 15 minute earlier bedtime every night, you’ll be making progress.

The same thing goes for meal times too. It’s hard in summer to get everyone to sit down at the same time to eat, but when you get your mealtimes back on track, everyone will feel as though there’s more of a schedule again.

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Choose your backpacks early

I always get my back to school backpacks in July. Why? It’s simple: if I wait I’ll miss out on the exact backpack the kids want. It’s happened to me more than once, so I always buy them as soon as the kids choose their backpack. They also enjoy using it for vacation and days at the beach.

Create a calendar

September fills up with activities so fast on my calendar that the numbers of the days are blurred out. Instead of rushing around trying to plan everything that goes on during back to school, I set up my calendar in July and start slowly adding new dates and times. It really helps when it comes to over scheduling during the busy times.

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Set up your computer before you need it

High school and college students may need a laptop for back to school, and if they do, your best bet is to start shopping for one now. That way you can set up and customize your new computer long before it’s time to head back to class, and using it will be seamless for yourself, son, or daughter.

 

Make a back to school list, check it twice

Buying school supplies isn’t anyone’s idea of a great way to spend the day, but I’ve discovered that shopping online makes the entire task that much easier. Pens, tape, calculators, and notebooks are all available online and instead of heading out to buy them, you can have them delivered straight to your door.

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Take care of lunchtime now

I don’t know a single mom who enjoys packing a lunch kit. Yes, I’ve seen and been envious of some pinners on Pinterest who create the cutest food for their kids, but I’m happy to just pack 2 or 3 food groups they’ll actually eat.

Do yourself a favour and make your own Pinterest board for back to school lunch ideas right now. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it’s handy because you always have new ideas for lunch. Trust me, you don’t want to stare blankly at the fridge at 6 am, wondering what whether Subway is open at that hour.

And don’t forget to pick up a thermos: in the winter a hot bowl of soup will be your kid’s favourite lunch on a chilly day.

Mornings can be magical

I know from experience, mornings can be a frantic rush during the first few weeks of school. That’s why I make sure I’ve got my favourite small appliances ready and I’ve loaded up on school breakfast supplies like frozen fruit, yogurt, and protein powder. I also make batches of waffles in my waffle maker and freeze them before back to school so they have a quick and easy breakfast.

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Create a meal plan

Dinners can be crazy during the back to school rush, and if you’d like to avoid eating out 3 or 4 times a week, making a meal plan can be a lifesaver when it’s time to sit down and eat. Better yet, make huge batches of different recipes right now and freeze them for the fall. That way you can heat up dinner in minutes.

Take the time to organize your entry way

I like to be organized, and being organized for me means having a place to hang backpacks, put away shoes, and have a spot for lunch kits. That’s why I organize my entryway before it becomes a high traffic area. By having a spot for back to school clutter, I’m not as stressed when every one comes flying in the door.

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Don’t forget about paperwork

Before I discovered the joys of a portable scanner, I was always surrounded by paper mess. That can be a real pain when it’s time for back to school, because you’re always searching for things like vaccination records or birth certificates.

When paperwork comes into the house, I scan it on my portable scanner, and then I recycle it unless I need a paper copy backup. No paper clutter means a cleaner house, and that makes me a happier mom.

These ten tips won’t take all of the stress out of back to school, but they can definitely improve the experience for anyone who’s trying to get their kids (and themselves) on a back to school schedule.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and if you have any back to school tips be sure to share them in the comments below.