Back to school tips

There’s just a few more days of freedom before the kids go back to school. We have to admit we geek out about school supplies, and still really like buying new pencils and folders and notebooks even though we’re not the ones using them anymore.

Speaking of, be sure to get those supplies from the special list ASAP. We’ve waited until the night before a few times and it’s ZERO fun to be hanging out with fellow procrastinators all searching for an orange folder with pockets and brads

Of course, one of the fun school supplies is a new lunchbox. If your kid is a picky eater and you get exhausted figuring out what’s for lunch every day, here’s a tip (if your child is old enough): Increase the picky eater’s allowance by $10 a week and strike a deal that she can buy lunch at school and pay for it herself–or pack her lunch at home and pocket the money.

One of the things kids tend to stress out about right before school starts is the possibility that they might wind up in the classroom of the “mean teacher.” For as long as kids have been going to school, certain teachers tend to get reputations as being more strict or not being as likeable as some of the others. (Are you remembering a teacher from your past right now?)

In many of those cases, it really is just rumor, though. Sometimes the strictest teachers wind up being your favorite teacher, so we have to talk it through with our kids that rumors aren’t always based in fact and you shouldn’t make your mind up about a teacher or anybody else based on what other people say. You have to give that person a chance, get to know them and form your own opinions which are based on actual experience rather than the rumor mill.

Here are some ways to make the first day back to school easier:

  • If you haven’t started a sleep schedule yet, start by moving bedtimes to a little earlier in the evening and inch closer to a school night bedtime.
  • In the days leading up to the first day, talk about what will happen to give your child a comfortable “mental movie.” Discuss how they’ll get to school, how they’ll get home and what might happen during the day.
  • Watch for signs that your child is worried, and talk to them about how most kids are a little nervous before the first day of school. Really listen.
  • Be sure kids – including teens! – lay out clothes the night before the first day. Arrive at school early so you have time for meaningful goodbyes.  And don’t forget that “first day of school” photo before you leave home!
  • If your little one gets teary when you say goodbye, reassure her that she will be fine and that you can’t wait to see her at the end of the day. Use a goodbye routine you’ve practiced (we LOVE the book The Kissing Hand if you’ve got little ones) and then hand her off to her teacher.
  • A reminder: Kids of all ages may have uncharacteristic meltdowns during the first week of school, or just before school starts.